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Sarasota News Leader September 6, 2013 Page 20 Waechter tells the News Leader he's not commenting on the issue, but says he's not concerned that the agreement might affect his criminal trial. He points out that the settlement stipulates that it does not "constitute an admission against interest or acknowledgement of guilt as to any criminal charge." He says settling was "cheaper" than fighting the allegations. Ramirez also lodged a complaint with the Federal Election Commission about the fake donation to Fitzgerald's campaign. That body oversees presidential and congressional elections. All FEC matters remain confidential till they're resolved. Waechter served as head of the local GOP from 2004 to 2006, and he has long been influential in conservative politics. He co-chaired the county's Bush-Cheney reelection camBob Waechter appears in a mug shot. Photo paign and last year supported the campaigns courtesy of the Sheriff's Office of County Commissioners Carolyn Mason, Christine Robinson and Charles Hines, each of opment Council, the Board of Zoning Appeals them victors. After being arrested, Waechter and the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority. left positions on the county's Tourism Devel- Waechter's attorney in the Elections Commission settlement, Emmett Mitchell IV, has a long, controversial history in Florida politics and elections. The Palm Beach Post reported last fall that Mitchell wrote the first draft of the 2011 state bill that cut early voting days from 14 to eight and cracked down on voter registration drives, among other restrictive measures. Liz Alpert has her own law firm in Sarasota. Image from The Post also called Mitchell the "architect" of then-Secretary of State Katherine Harris' 2000 felon voter purge, which misidentified thousands of Floridians — a "disproportionately high number" of them black — as felons, preventing them from voting. According to the article, the Tallahassee law firm Mitchell works for, Coates, currently represents the state Republican Party. %

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