Florida Man Buys State: Koch Impacts in the Sunshine State:
Koch Lobbyists In Florida

Fearington and Smith

The Registered Lobbyists For Koch Companies Public Sector, Koch Industries, Flint Hills, And Georgia-Pacific Corporations In Florida Are Mercer Fearington Jr. And James C. (Clark) Smith. [FloridaLobbyist.gov, 1/30/15]

  • Alongside Myra Carpenter, Charles Hood, And Foyt Tipton Ralston, Fearington And Smith Also Represented Georgia-Pacific Corporation In 2006. [Floridalobbyist.gov, accessed 1/30/15]

Peyton Fearington – Mercer Fearington’s Mother – Worked For Gov. Bush, Exchanged Emails With Bush Occasionally

Peyton Fearington Served As “One Of The Three Deputy Secretaries For The Department Of Business And Professional Regulation.” According to an email from Peyton Fearington to a constituent on September 4, 2001, “Dear Mr. Peace-Governor Bush has asked me to respond to your recent email regarding Stevens Bros. Funeral Home. I am one of the three Deputy Secretaries for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and directly work with the Division of Professions. There are several cases with Stevens Funeral Home for operating without a license. The Department is working to resolve these cases and gain compliance with licensure requirements. After these cases are resolved, then it is the function of the Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers to determine whether a license should be issued. The next board meeting is scheduled for November 6-7, 2001 in Orlando, Florida. If I can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me at (850) 921-7271. Thank you, Peyton C. Fearington, Deputy Secretary” [Peyton Fearington Email to Constituent, 9/4/01]

Gov. Jeb Bush Email To Peyton Fearington: “I Hope You Are Doing Well, Peyton. Long Time, No See.” According to an email from Gov. Jeb Bush to Peyton Fearington, “i hope you are doing well, Peyton. Long time, no see. Can you respond to Gerald Kisner? Jeb” [Gov. Jeb Bush Email to Peyton Fearington, 9/1/01]

Peyton Fearington Email To Jeb Bush: “I Have Decided I Need To Spend My Time At Becoming A Full-Time Grandmother. Mercer Has Caroline, Another On The Way, In About 2 Weeks.” According to an email from Peyton Fearington to Gov. Jeb Bush on October 31, 2001, “Governor-I wanted to thank you so much for the opportunity to work in your administration and for both Secretary Henderson and Secretary Binkley-Seyer. It has indeed been my honor and pleasure. I have decided that I need to spend my time at becoming a full-time grandmother. Mercer has Caroline, another on the way, in about 2 weeks and my daughter is expecting her first at the end of the month. I will be calling Karen in the next few weeks to offer any assistance in her office. Thank you again and best of luck.” [Peyton Fearington Email to Gov. Jeb Bush, 10/31/01]

  • Gov. Bush’s Response: “Thank You Peyton. I Am Jealous! I Want To Be A Grandaddy!” According to an email from Gov. Jeb Bush to Peyton Fearington, “Thank you Peyton. I am jealous! I want to be a grandaddy!” [Gov. Jeb Bush Email to Peyton Fearington, 10/31/01]

Clark Smith

Clark Smith Is The Son Of Jim Smith, Jeb Bush’s Former Secretary Of State. According to SaintPetersBlog, “Beside the financial aspects of the deal, it makes sense that Clark Smith is joining the firm where his father hangs his hat. Veteran lobbyist and former Secretary of State Jim Smith joined SSG in 2011 after splitting off from Ballard & Smith, the firm Brian Ballard and he started.” [SaintPetersBlog, 11/2/13]

Fearington and Smith Merged With Southern Strategy Group

Mercer Fearington And Jim And Clark Smith Work For Southern Strategy Group. [SoStrategy.com/team, accessed 1/30/15]

At Least Six Other Members Of Southern Strategy Group Served In Gov. Jeb Bush’s Administration Or Worked For His Campaigns. According to Southern Strategy Group’s website, Oscar Anderson, Thomas Arnold, Paul Bradshaw, Sarah Carrol, Chris Dudley, and Deno Hicks all either served under Jeb Bush’s administration or worked/volunteered for one of his gubernatorial campaigns. [SoStrategy.com/team, accessed 1/30/15]

Oscar Anderson – Jeb Bush’s Chief of Staff/Assistant Secretary at the Department of Community Affairs (2003)

Thomas Arnold – Jeb Bush’s Medicaid Director (2004-2007)
Paul Bradshaw – “coordinat[ed] issues development for several statewide candidates including Jeb Bush) (founder)

Sarrah Carroll – “managed special events for Governor Jeb Bush in External Affairs.”

Chris Dudley – Assistant to the Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff to Jeb Bush, 1998/2002 Bush Campaigns

Deno Hicks – “served the Bush Administration as a Florida Liaison to the Department of Political Affairs of the White House,” Appointed by Jeb Bush to the Florida Greenways and Trails Council (2005) additionally appointed to nominee to the electoral college, delegate to the 08 RNC, member of the 4th circuit judicial court nominating commission, appointee to the executive board of the Republican Party of Florida.

SaintPetersBlog: The Path Between Working In Florida’s Executive Branch And Lobbying With Southern Strategy Group Is “Well-Worn.” According to SaintPetersBlog, “[Jerry] McDaniel joining SSG follows a well-worn path from the executive branch to Adams Street. Since its founding, Southern Strategy Group has built its practice, in part, on its ability to attract high-ranking former governmental officials eager to capitalize on their expertise and knowledge of the inner-workings of state government. Among SSG’s current and former partners who previously held senior public sector positions are Paul Bradshaw, David Rancourt, Jim Smith, John Thrasher and James McFaddin. McDaniel is joining SSG two months after the firm announced it was acquiring Fearington & Smith, a boutique shop whose clients include BP America, Georgia-Pacific and Koch Industries.” [SaintPetersBlog, 1/5/14]