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PAC man feeds on political hopes

A Florida man puzzles state and federal officials with his political

August 17, 2009|Jon Burstein

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. — In the last year, Josue Larose has mystified state and federal officials by forming 160 political action committees -- groups with names like the Florida Billionaires Political Committee and United States Former Vice Presidents Federal PAC.

The Deerfield Beach, Fla., man is a political unknown. But he seems to have set a record for organizational zeal. He has started so many political action committees that he's chairman of about a quarter of the state's 362 PACs, the Florida Division of Elections said.

Larose, 30, hopes his PACs one day will endorse a candidate he knows particularly well -- himself. A registered Republican, he is running for governor and for Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler's seat in Congress next year. He also said he intended to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

"I will make a good politician," he said. "I want to give everybody a voice."

In recent campaign finance filings, Larose reported that his 100 state PACs had taken in a combined $88,000.

Most of the money -- $62,000 -- is listed as coming from four groups: the Broward County Elite Chamber of Commerce, Palm Beach County Elite Chamber of Commerce, Orange County Elite Chamber of Commerce and Miami-Dade County Elite Chamber of Commerce. The state's Division of Corporations website has no record of the organizations.

Some of Larose's PACs have grand, if vague, names like the U.S. Business Owners Federal PAC and the Florida Economics Elites Political Committee. Others are for occupations such as the Florida Bank Presidents Political Committee.

He's also created the Florida Music Stars Political Committee, the Florida Intellectual Elites Political Committee and United States Former Presidents Federal PAC. Campaign finance records do not show anyone being involved with the groups besides Larose.

His creation of PACs by the dozen is legal. There's no limit to how many a single person can form, and no filing fee to create them. Election officials, however, said Larose was setting himself up to deal with a mountain of paperwork.

He has to regularly file campaign finance reports for each of his 100 state PACs and 60 federal PACs.

Federal Elections Commission spokesman Christian Hilland said Larose's activity "seems a little out there."

Larose "seems like one of those people who is ambitious with a lot of time on their hands," Hilland said.

Records show Larose has registered 11 business names with the state, including the U.S. Lobbying Firm of Josue Larose and the American National Chamber of Commerce. He's been a registered lobbyist for three groups he formed and for a woman dealing with immigration problems, according to federal records.

Larose also describes himself as a businessman and music producer.

Earlier this year, the American National Chamber of Commerce was selling tickets for $1,000 apiece for a presidential inauguration party. Larose was listed as the guest speaker. The party was canceled when no one bought tickets, he said.

Though Larose said his PACs were meant to give people a voice in politics, there's at least one group wondering why it would want one.

Larose's Florida Racquetball Players Political Committee has the Florida Racquetball Assn.'s president scratching his head.

Randy Forrest said he had never heard of Larose and had no idea why racquetball players would want a state PAC.

One of Larose's PACs does intrigue him, however.

"I'd like to join that Florida billionaires committee," Forrest said. "How do you get into that?"

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jburstein@sunsentinel.com

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