After paying InfoWars blogger $37K, Florida Rep. Jason Brodeur files bill requiring bloggers to register with state

Brodeur was found in 2019 to have paid $37K to an Orlando blogger ahead of his election

After paying InfoWars blogger $37K, Florida Rep. Jason Brodeur files bill requiring bloggers to register with state
Photo via Jason Brodeur/Twitter

The same Orlando-area state lawmaker who once paid an InfoWars blogger $37,000, now wants Florida to require pay-to-play blogs be registered with the state.

Florida Sen. Jason Brodeur, R-Lake Mary, filed legislation (SB 1316) that would require bloggers paid to cover elected officials to register and report their content.

Prior to his election, Brodeur was found to have dumped tens of thousands of dollars of campaign money into firms operated by prominent Republicans, as well as payments to Jacob Engels, an Orlando blogger associated with InfoWars and neo-fascist group the Proud Boys. (The Proud Boys call themselves a “Western chauvinist” organization; the Southern Poverty Law Center calls them a hate group.)

Under Brodeur's new bill, reports must be made to the state "if a blogger posts to a blog about an elected state officer and receives, or will receive, compensation for that post."

The bill defines a blog as "a website or webpage that hosts any blogger and is frequently updated with opinion, commentary, or business content." The term does not include the websites of newspapers or other similar publications.

A blogger is defined as any person "that submits a blog post to a blog which is subsequently published."

Bloggers must register within five days of any blog mentioning elected officials and then file monthly reports listing posts that mention officials.

This includes any pay-to-play blogs covering the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Cabinet or Legislature. The legislation does not appear to apply to candidates, only elected officials.

Bloggers would also be required to disclose who paid for the posts and how much.

“If the compensation is for a series of blog posts or for a defined period of time, the blogger must disclose the total amount to be received upon the first blog post being published,” the bill reads.

The legislation would allow for the state to charge fines for late reports: $25 per day, up to $2,500. Payments would be required within 30 days, unless the blogger files an appeal with Florida's Ethics Commission.

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Chloe Greenberg

Chloe Greenberg is the Digital Content Editor for Orlando Weekly.
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