• A Highly Partisan Democrat Political Consulting Firm Is Deeply Embedded In The Palm Beach County Supervisor Of Elections

    September 21, 2023
    4 Comments

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    On February 4, 2022, a Palm Beach County grass roots group submitted an email request for an update to a public records request via the general email inbox of the Palm Beach County (PBC) Supervisor of Elections (SOE), [email protected].   Upon submitting the request, the group was surprised to have received an 'Out of Office' response from a consulting firm, Cornerstone Solutions (Rick Asnani-President and Jonathan Cooper-Vice President) (Exhibit 1).

    Exhibit 1: Email sent to the Supervisor of Elections general inbox and Out of Office response sent from Cornerstone Solutions – Why is Cornerstone Solutions monitoring our Supervisor of Elections inbox?

    One would expect an employee of the SOE to be monitoring the inbox, not a consulting firm.  Upon researching Cornerstone Solutions, it was/is clear the firm is a highly partisan democrat political consulting firm as evidenced by Cornerstone Solution’s high volume of democrat clients (Exhibit 2), research into PACs created by Cornerstone Solutions (Exhibit 3) and various newspaper articles.

    To appreciate the client representation of Cornerstone Solutions, you must first investigate their clientele. The following list, taken from their website, is not an all-inclusive list but is telling by the high volume of Democrat clients:

    All but 3 of the clients listed were Democrats in Cornerstone's Candidate Campaigns list.  Republicans: Saunders, Wodraska & Coniglio.  If you add Link to the list of clients, that is 19 of 22 that are Dems or 86%. 

    Exhibit 2: Cornerstone Represents Primarily Democrat Candidates. Of note, excluded from the list is Wendy Link

    To research the PACs established and operated by Cornerstone Solutions President, Rick Asnani, was an effort (Exhibit 3). The first task was to identify all PACs with Rick Asnani as the Registered Agent (black text). The following diagram shows 7 PACs. The 7 PACs are either Rick Asnani’s PACs or Rick Asnani’s democrat candidate PACs. The next task was to identify PACs not created by Rick Asnani but contributed to Rick Asnani’s PACs (white text). Last was an attempt to document contributions to individual PACs and follow the money flow between/amongst the various PACs. The money flow was either to democrat candidates, other Rick Asnani PACs, or Cornerstone Solutions itself. Not considering the $39,000,000 paid to Cornerstone Solutions by Rick Asnani’s PAC Standing up for Florida, from 2019 – 2022 Cornerstone Solutions was paid ~$14,400,000 either directly or indirectly from Rick Asnani’s PACs. If client representation is not enough to demonstrate that Cornerstone Solutions is a democrat political consulting firm, the PACs and PAC money flow (directly or indirectly back to Cornerstone) should be.

    Exhibit 3: Rick Asnani PACs, other contributing PACs, and Cornerstone Solution Payments

    So why is there a highly partisan democrat political consulting firm monitoring the inbox of OUR county’s Supervisor of Elections?  This is extremely concerning for two reasons:  

    Question 1: Why are our tax dollars going to pay a political consulting firm to monitor a public records request email inbox when the Supervisor of Elections could be paying an employee at $15-20/hour?  

    Question 2: Is this democrat political consulting firm monitoring the content of public records requests or more importantly who is submitting requests?  Given Rick Asnani's court case regarding paying off and the intimidation of political opposition, this is quite disturbing (Article 1).  

    Article 1: Judge denies motion to drop interference case against Seminole Tribe’s organizers alleging Asnani's firm paid off petition signature collectors to stop getting signatures and hired individuals to intimidate petition signature collectors.  Essentially, Rick Asnani and his firm were on trial for intimidating political opposition.     

    https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article256496136.html

    A need to understand the relationship between the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections and Cornerstone Solutions lead to the discovery of a newspaper article emphasizing the Supervisor of Election’s relationship with Cornerstone Solutions. Cornerstone Solutions represented Wendy Link in her 2020 Supervisor of Elections campaign. Wendy Link oversaw her own election as the Supervisor of Elections. And not only was she elected in the August of 2020 Primary, a newspaper article, quoting Cornerstone Solutions executives, very proudly states Wendy Link received more votes than any other candidate on the ballot. (Exhibit 4) (Article 2).  

    Exhibit 4: Cornerstone Solutions gets Wendy Link elected and she received more votes than ANY OTHER candidate!

    Article 2: https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/524971466/cornerstone-solutions-congratulates-winning-campaigns-in-the-2020-primary-election

    In effort to conduct further investigations into the relationship between the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections and Cornerstone Solutions, a public records request was submitted asking for all email exchanges between the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections and Cornerstone Solutions. The alarming response was as follows: ‘Preliminary research to prepare the cost estimate reveals that the information requested yield hundreds of thousands of records’ (Exhibit 5). There are hundreds of thousands of records! This firm is clearly embedded in the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Election’s operations.

    Exhibit 5: Hundreds of Thousands of email exchanges between Cornerstone Solutions and the PBC SOE?

    In response to limit the request from ‘hundreds of thousands of records’, a follow up public records request was submitted. The request was limited to September 1, 2020 - October 15, 2020. Unfortunately, the emails provided were inaccurate as they only sent emails pertaining to CTCL. Another public records request was submitted asking for all email exchanges between Wendy Link and Cornerstone Solutions President, Rick Asnani, for a specified timeframe. This did yield a more accurate representation, yet, limited. Additional requests are required to get a complete picture as to the extent of Cornerstone Solution’s involvement in OUR Supervisor of Elections operations.

    Regarding the emails received, it is very important to address what the emails revealed. Shortly after Cornerstone Solutions got Wendy Link elected as the Supervisor of Elections in August of 2020, the Supervisor of Elections was in communication and working with Cornerstone Solutions to obtain a CTCL grant/Zuckerbucks in the amount of $6,808,977.94. The grant was submitted on September 29th and approved on September 30th. Wendy Link sends a celebratory ‘Woo hoo!!! Let the work begin!!!!’ to Cornerstone Solutions, clearly ‘in the know’ (Exhibit 6,7,8, 9, 10, 11, and 12).

    Exhibit 6: Cornerstone Solutions assisting in CTCL grant/Zuckerbucks application

    Exhibit 7: ‘much appreciated assistance from Jonathan’ of Cornerstone Solutions

    Exhibit 8: ‘thank you Wendy for your leadership to PURSE this grant’

    Exhibit 9: ‘grants are rolling and we would not want to have them disperse funds before getting this’

    Exhibit 10: Grant submitted on 9/29/2020 and Approved 9/30/2020

    Exhibit 11: Sept 30th at 8:24 PM Wendy Link Sends a ‘Woo Hoo” to the VP of Cornerstone Solutions

    Exhibit 12: One Minute Later, Wendy Link Sends a ‘Woo Hoo’ to the President of Cornerstone Solutions

    ‘Woo Hoo!!! Let the work begin!!!!!’ Interesting fact: from October 2020 – November 2020, of the $6,808,977.94 received from CTCL grant/Zuckerbucks, Cornerstone Solutions was paid approximately $3,400,000, precisely half or 50% of the CTCL grant/Zuckerbucks. Interesting ratio…50%. A few questions need to be addressed:

    Question 1: A public records request was submitted requesting the names of companies assisting with drafting the grant. The Supervisor of Elections response ‘There are no documents responsive to your request’. Yet there are emails that clearly indicate both Cornerstone Solutions (Exhibit13) and Venn There Grants assisted in writing the grant (Exhibit 14).

    Exhibit 13: PBC Supervisor of Elections denies assistance in writing of the grant

    Exhibit 14: Evidence of assistance in writing the grant

    Question 2: Upon receiving such a grant, is the Supervisor of Elections required to put the project up for bid? Should there have been a contract with Cornerstone Solutions? If so, there were no bids or contracts (Exhibit 15)

    Exhibit 15: CTCL grant/Zuckerbucks was never put out for bid nor was a contract established

    Question 3: The preliminary budget overview estimate indicates an allotted $576,258.99 for Outreach and Education (Exhibit 16) yet Cornerstone Solutions paid ~$3,400,000 in Outreach and Education as indicated on the CTCL Grant Report (Exhibit 17) and invoices (see attachment Cornerstone Invoices PR 23-183). It is quite peculiar that of the ~$6,800,000 million in grant monies, Cornerstone Solutions was paid ~$3,400,000, precisely 50%. Perhaps a pre-arranged agreement?

    Exhibit 16: $576,258.99 Allotted for Outreach and Education yet $3.4 million was paid to Cornerstone Solutions

    CTCL Grant Report Payment to Cornerstone Solutions

    Exhibit 17: $3.4 Million Awarded to Cornerstone Solutions for Outreach/Education (see attached invoices for additional detail)

    It does not stop there, however. As indicated by invoices, Cornerstone Solutions has remained on OUR Palm Beach County’s taxpayer payroll. SB90, signed on May 6, 2021, prohibits the use of private funding to run elections. Invoices do not indicate CTCL monies were utilized to pay Cornerstone Solutions following the signing of SB90. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that OUR taxpayer monies were utilized to pay the highly partisan democrat political consulting firm, Cornerstone Solutions, the following amounts:

    In 2021 Cornerstone was paid approx. $490,000 (see attachment Cornerstone Invoices PR 23-183).

    In 2022 Cornerstone was paid approx. $421,000 (see attachment Cornerstone Invoices PR 23-183).

    The Supervisor of Elections, Wendy Link, has had conflicting statements about the use of the remaining CTCL grant/Zuckerbucks.

    Wendy Link’s comments to Fox News April of 2021:

    "Our original understanding of the grant was that it had to be used for 2020, so we didn’t spend all of the money," Link told Fox News.

    "We are now getting permission from CTCL to complete the purchases. So, to answer your question, some of it would be for 2021, 2022, because some of that equipment, we weren't able to get in time — whether it's equipment or the firewall, some of the security, or IT security programs, didn’t get implemented," Link continued. (Of Note: Cornerstone Solutions is not an equipment, firewall, security, IT security company)

    "We knew we weren’t going to have time to get them in as it turned out for 2020. So we didn’t purchase them because we wanted to make sure we stayed within the definition of the grant, which at the time was for 2020. We have since gotten permission for those now, so they are in that process for some of the equipment and some of the IT programs." (Of Note: The grant allotted ~$600,000 to be used for Outreach and Education. The Supervisor of Elections paid ~$3,400,000 to Cornerstone Solutions for Outreach and Education.)

    Article 4: https://floridianpress.com/2021/06/desantis-appointed-elections-boss-denies-fox-news-interview-over-zuckerbucks/

    The following represents the timeline from Wendy Link’s election to CTCL grant/Zuckerbucks payments in 2020, to Cornerstone Solution payments in 2021 and 2022.


    CONCLUSION:  
    The relationship between Palm Beach County’s Supervisor of Elections and Cornerstone Solutions appears to be extremely unethical and must be investigated.  A highly partisan democrat political consulting firm is embedded in and deeply involved with OUR Supervisor of Election’s operations. We, as voters and taxpayers of Palm Beach County demand the emails, financial records, text messages, and all other correspondence of the Supervisor of Elections be turned over to the Division of Elections and the Secretary of State for investigation. 

    Supplemental Information

    Cornerstone PACs

    Team McGovern (D) PAC with Rick Asnani of Cornerstone Solutions as the Registered Agent raises approx. $400,000 which is paid to Cornerstone Solutions.

    Friends of Ric Bradshaw (D) PAC contributes 200k to PAC with Rick Asnani of Cornerstone Solutions as the Registered Agent which in turn pays Cornerstone Solutions.

    Citizens for Law Order and Ethics pays Running with Andy Thomson PAC with Rick Asnani as Registered Agent which in turn pays Cornerstone Solutions

    Floridians for Economic Leadership PAC with Rick Asnani as Registered Agent pays Keeping Citizens First PAC with Rick Asnani as Registered Agent which in turn pays Cornerstone Solutions

    2019-2022- Cornerstone Solutions created Democrat Candidate PACs which then paid Cornerstone Solutions ~$41 million.

    Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections

    Aug 2020 – Cornerstone Solutions gets Wendy Link elected as PBC SOE with more votes than any other candidate on the ticket, including the Sheriff.

    Oct 2020 – Nov 2020 Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections awards Cornerstone Solutions $3. 4 million in Zuckerbucks, precisely 50% of the original grant. Was it quid pro quo? Was it an agreement between Cornerstone Solutions and the Supervisor of Elections? It certainly warrants an investigation.

    Other Emails of Interest

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    4 Comments
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    Ronald Harvey
    Ronald Harvey
    8 months ago

    Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen, for this outstanding article. VERY rarely is a story so well documented. Such an important topic as our elections deserves much more of this degree of scrutiny.
    Alas, I think we can all admit that this level of capture of our electoral system is prevalent in every major city and county. I don't know how we are going to prevent a replay of 2020 in 2024.

    Di D
    7 months ago

    You should know that Asnani is a republican, not a democrat.

    Kj
    Kj
    7 months ago
    Reply to  Di D

    Funny! Don’t bury the lead. He. has PACs that raises millions for democrats candidates that then line his coffers. Party affiliation means nothing. Follow the money!

    Kj Meckert
    Kj Meckert
    5 months ago
    Reply to  Di D

    Did a little research…is Rick Asnani…Pradeep Asnani? If so he is a registered democrat.

    Last edited 5 months ago by Kj Meckert

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