Arrojo was suspected of being a proxy to help Garcia bash Rivera two years before. Arrojo, a Tea Party candidate, used the same mail and printing vendor as the Democrat Garcia.
A top-notch printing house, Image Plus has printed hundreds of thousands of mailers for hundreds of candidates for decades.
But Arrojo’s mailer stands out for a major reason: Image Plus is a union-run shop that, while praised and highly valued in Democratic circles, isn’t a typical venue for a tea party candidate who ran on a hard-right platform.
The walls at Image Plus in North Miami are festooned with colorful pro-President Barack Obama signs like “LGBT for Obama” or a placard in Hebrew printed for Obama’s Organizing for America campaign.
“Joe Garcia is a Democrat who worked for Obama,” Arrojo’s American eagle-adorned campaign mailer said, “the last thing we need is someone who supports Obama’s policies.”
That was the only shot at Garcia the Arrojo mailer took. It devoted more space to Garcia’s rival, Rivera, a Republican who went on to best them both to become a congressman two years ago. Garcia beat Rivera in a rematch last year.
Since 2010, Republicans have complained about Arrojo’s campaign. He didn’t show how he paid the $10,440 qualifying fee to make the ballot or how he paid for the mailers.
Depending on the number of mail pieces, it could have cost Arrojo about $12,000 for Image Plus to print and send out roughly 20,000 mailers — a relatively modest amount for a general-election campaign, campaign and mail consultants told the Herald.
It’s unclear how Arrojo could have afforded to pay for it all with personal money.
Adding to Republican suspicions: Arrojo was registered as a Republican, filed initially to run as a Democrat, then ran as a Tea Party candidate and is now a registered Democrat
Arrojo, who went to high school with Jeffrey Garcia, ran a failed real estate company with him, has declared bankruptcy, has had IRS tax liens placed against him and his Coral Gables home, which has been in foreclosure.
Based on Arrojo’s campaign activity, two Republicans filed separate Federal Elections Commission complaints. They accurately pointed out that Arrojo didn’t file his campaign-finance reports and didn’t therefore account for how he paid for the mailer.
“This is simply a baseless and incorrect complaint,” Arrojo told the FEC in a letter. “As I have stated before, I did not raise and spend $5,000 and my understanding is that unless I did, I would not be required to file the fundraising reports.”
Under federal campaign law, candidates have to file campaign reports if they raise or spend more than $5,000.
Arrojo clearly spent more than $5,000, the FEC’s acting general counsel, Christopher Hughey, wrote in a memo that nevertheless termed the complaints against Arrojo “low-rated matters.”
Hughey closed the case in June 2011, and Arrojo was just sent letters reminding him that he broke the law.
The FEC case file indicates that the agency never made much of an investigation into Arrojo’s finances, or how he could afford the $10,440 qualifying fee or the mailers. If he paid the qualifying fee with his own money, the self-contribution might not have to be reported, but the expense should have been.