The Sun-Sentinel wrote Broward School Board candidate Allen Zeman’s “laser-like focus on ethics is what the school board needs.” Apparently the school board also needs a mysterious political action committee known as “Keep Students First.” Records show this PAC is funded by the Washington D.C. company founded by Allen Zeman. Hoping to unseat incumbent School Board Member Donna Korn, Zeman preaches his platform of “transparency and ethical standards” to concerned parents and newspaper editors. So, why is he funding a PAC with big bucks from his Center For Human Capital Innovation?
On April 5, 2022, Allen Zeman announced his candidacy for the At-large District 8 Broward School Board seat. His official campaign paperwork lists his Fort Lauderdale home as his campaign address. These official documents list Yolanda Brown of Brown Financial Consultants as Zeman’s campaign treasurer.
According to State elections records, Yolanda Brown created the Keep Students First political committee on May 27, 2022. Brown is listed as the chairperson and treasurer of Keep Students First. The address for the committee is the same Fort Lauderdale address as Yolanda Brown’s Fort Lauderdale financial business.
Allen Zeman is the CEO and founder of The Center For Human Capital Innovation. Based in Alexandria, Virginia, the company performs contact work for numerous Federal government agencies. Zeman is currently listed as the CEO on the company website.
On May 31, 2022, the Center For Human Capital Innovation gave $35,000 to the four day old Keep Students First political committee.
On June 28, 2022, Keep Students First picked up a $30,000 contribution from MCBICO Holdings of Palm Beach Gardens. State records show MCBICO Holdings is owned by 411 Pain founder Robert Lewin.
On July 13, 2022, another political committee, One Positive Step, gave $20,000 to Keep Students First. The chairman of One Positive Step is Merick Lewin, the nephew of Robert Lewin. Earlier this month, Merick Lewin dropped out of the Broward School Board District 6 race.
According to State elections records, One Positive Step stated the address for Keep Students First was a home on Northeast 19th Street in Fort Lauderdale. Property records and campaign records confirm this is address of Allen Zeman’s home.
In June, Keep Students First paid $7,500 to Renaissance Campaign Strategies of Tampa. This company part of Mercury Public Affairs. Zeman is reportedly using Ashley Walker as his campaign manager. Walker is a partner at Mercury.
Election records show Keep Students First paid $39,733.87 on July 15, 2022 to National Campaign Research Group. This company produces mail pieces for candidates and political committees.
In April, The Center For Human Capital Innovation gave the maximum $1,000 contribution to Allen Zeman. Candidates have no limit when it comes to loaning money to their own campaigns. As of July, Allen Zeman has loaned $99,000 to his campaign.
On July 13, 2022 Zeman paid nearly $46,000 to Image Plus for mailers that just hit Broward mailboxes. These mailers are light and fluffy pieces with pictures of Zeman and his supporters along with his words promising “transparency.”
What will those Keep Students First mailers say? Shouldn’t someone who claims to have “ethical standards” say it in their own name?
REDBROWARD asked Allen Zeman about Keep Students First.
When reached by telephone, Zeman stated he needed to discuss things with someone before he could answer. He asked if we could email the questions. We emailed him eleven questions
We asked Zeman if he formed Keep Students First or instructed Yolanda Brown to form the committee. We asked how he and his company knew about the committee just days after it was formed. We asked if he approved the $35,000 contribution from Center For Human Capital Innovation. We asked about the other donors. We asked about the mailers. We asked Zeman about Neil Sterling.
Here is the response from Allen Zeman:
I am aware of Keep Students First. It was formed to elect a Broward County school board that is fully focused on students, which is needed now more than ever. And I have supported their efforts in accordance with Florida elections law.Allen Zeman
Formed by who? Why are these do-gooders who know how to fix the Broward School Board hiding behind a PAC?
Not very transparent, eh?
N.B. The Sun-Sentinel, which endorsed Allen Zeman, published a story today about the money “fueling” the Broward School Board races. They did not find Keep Students First.
This message will always explain everything: FOLLOW the MONEY !!
Yes, that is a common phrase, especially in the world of politics. But, of course, since the SCOTUS “graciously” decided Citizens United just over a decade ago in 2010 reversing century-old campaign finance restrictions and thereby tilting political influence in favor of wealthy donors and corporate donors and unlimited funding, that money has grown almost beyond belief. Indeed, this latest RB piece almost naively seems to think the formation of a PAC is somehow unique when, in fact, one of the biggest impacts of Citizens United has been the ever-increasing creation of PACs, especially Super PACs the funding of which the “law” allows to happen almost unfettered and with minimal disclosure. In short, the PAC referenced in here falls in line with the numerous others that have been created, largely from thin air and with ridiculous amounts of donor money, So, sure FOLLOW the MONEY (as best as the law might allow you to), just be sure to have PLENTY of time on your hands as that would likely require 24/7 investigation over many lifetimes.
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Of course, you are correct. Time to expand the SCOTUS to have a seat for every appellate court. That was supposed to be the original plan.
I started reading about these issues because his ads say that he was with the Department of Defense School Board for 8 years and was the “highest ranked Senior Executive in the Navy. The way it is phrased sounds a bit off and was the reason I was reading this interesting article here.
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