EMERGE PAC founder Khurrum Wahid was troubled by Charlie Crist’s silence on the last day of Ramadan, a holy month in the Islamic faith. RED BROWARD obtained emails between Wahid and David A. Geller, a Hollywood, Florida lawyer on “#TEAMCHARLIE.” On July 28, 2014 at 12:43PM, Wahid emailed Geller, “Can you have an EID Greeting sent out today from crist.” Eid-al-fitr is the feast celebrating the last day of Ramdan.
At 1:59PM, David A. Geller replied, “I am looking into it.” Six minutes later, with a hint of sarcasm, Wahid responded Crist owed the Muslim community. Wahid wrote, “I am surprised it did not happen. Disconcerting we are asked to raise funds and the most monumental month and holiday of the Muslim calendar is ignored. I suspect this would not happen with other communities.”
Four minutes later Geller replies, “I will make sure to pass this along as well. I was told that it was already in the works–which I am assuming means they do know about it and are/have been working on it. Can I call you later today to discuss? I want to make sure the campaign really understands this.” At 2:14Pm Wahid writes, “Sure happy to talk anytime. But simple really rather just ask it get sent out.”
Nine minutes later, at 2:23pm, the official Charlie Crist Twitter account complied with Wahid’s demand for a statement. The campaign tweeted, “Eid mubarak and God bless to all those celebrating the end of Ramadan today!” Wahid and several other EMERGE officials retweeted the Crist statement.
Three days later, Wahid repaid Crist for his prompt action. He hosted a breakfast reception for Crist at the Law Offices of Barzee Flores in Miami. The suggested contribution was $250 per person.
EMERGE PAC DEEP TIES TO DEMOCRATS
According to its website, EMERGE USA is a “non-partisan, Florida based the political action committee that endorses and raises money for state and federal candidates based on their support for civil rights, minority rights and a diverse America where underrepresented communities are seen as a part of the social fabric of our nation.” On its Facebook page, EMERGE PAC claims it “works with candidates that support issues that are of importance to underrepresented communities, with a specific focus on Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Americans throughout the United States.” But RED BROWARD has undecovered EMERGE PAC’s ties to the highest levels of the Democrat party.
Farooq Mitha, another EMERGE official, works with David A. Geller. The Geller Law firm website includes Mitha’s political biography:
Farooq has consulted for several political campaigns and candidates running for political office at the local, state, and federal levels. Most recently he served on the National Finance Committee of President Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign and currently works with campaigns on issues, strategy, and fundraising.
After completing his Fulbright Fellowship funded by the U.S. Department of State in Amman, Jordan in 2009, Farooq participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program, also sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, where he co-led a discussion on election reform in Lebanon.
Another EMERGE PAC leader, Imran Siddiqui recently accepted a job with the Democratic National Committee. Siddiqui will be in charge of voter expansion efforts in south Florida.
On Sunday, RED BROWARD reported EMERGE PAC issued endorsements in several key Broward races.
On its “2014 Broward County Voter Card,” EMERGE endorsed Charlie Crist, Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief, Judge Steven B. Feren, and School Board candidate Nick Sakhnovsky. EMERGE endorsed judicial candidates Andrea Ruth Gundersen, Julie Shapiro Harris and Jonathan Kasen. Several candidates told RED BROWARD they were unaware of the group and never asked for their endorsement.
Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief must be familiar with EMERGE. In 2009, EMERGE gave her $250 for her first County Commission campaign. Last month, EMERGE gave Sharief a $750 contribution.
In 2008, EMERGE gave $250 to Judge Steven B. Feren, the former Mayor of Sunrise. Last week, RED BROWARD exposed Feren’s enormous Indonesian Muslim following on Twitter. Feren claimed to be the victim of illegal hacking.
In 2012, EMERGE teamed up with other controversial Muslim groups to promote early voting in Broward county. RED BROWARD obtained a flier from United Voices, CAIR and EMERGE urging people to take part in “FLORIDA MUSLIM EARLY VOTE DAY.”