The second week of the redistricting trial is underway, and Republican Party of Florida official Frank Terraferma has returned to the stand, this time acknowledging that significant pieces of the Senate map he gave to a GOP consultant were identical to a map submitted by the member of the public.
This is the second time Terraferma, director of House campaigns for RPOF, has acknowledged that maps he drew and gave to GOP redistricting consultant Rich Heffley were identical to a map submitted by a member of the public. On Friday, Terraferma testified that significant parts of a congressional map he drew matched the map used by lawmakers in the final congressional map.
Lawyers for the League of Women Voters and a coalition of voters who are challenging the Legislature's redistricting maps are trying to show in circuit court that “legislators and staffers collaborated” with political operatives to conduct a "shadow" redistricting process thus violating the state law that prohibits maps with the intent to favor a political party or incumbent.
Both times, Terraferma denied any knowledge that the maps may have made their way from Heffley or other GOP consultants into the maps submitted by the public.
"It's apparently a fact that some people admitted these maps,'' he said. "I wasn't aware...I don't know what other people did with stuff that I may have drawn."
Last week, Senate President Don Gaetz testified under oath that the legislature's final congressional map was similar to one submitted by Alex Posado, an economics student at Florida State University.
“These maps were not pulled out of whole cloth,’’ Gaetz said, but “arose out of a process of inviting people to submit maps.”
On Friday, Terraferma testified that that he drew maps for GOP consultant Rich Hefley using special map-making software obtained by the party, but he could not explain how an identical congressional map had been submitted by Alex Posada, a Florida State University student, at 4:42 a.m. on the day of the deadline for public submissions of redistricting maps.
During the Legislature’s June 20 public hearing on redistricting, Posada, an economics student and a member of the FSU College Republicans, commended legislators for their open process.
“I think one of the primary goals of this whole process has to be transparency and I think ya'll have done a great job here today,’’ Posada told lawmakers. “You mentioned earlier how a lot of times we hear politicians talk, but rarely do we see them listening to us, so I really appreciate that.”
The map he submitted has since becoem the most visited public submission on the Florida House redistricting site.
Terraferma has denied that he coordinated with Heffley, a close adviser to Gaetz, to devise maps but said that he frequently talked about redistricting with him. He testified Monday that both Heffley and he traveled to Washington, D.C., to a meeting with Republican National Committee attorney Ben Ginsburg, They stayed at Ginsburg's home and also brought maps with them.
Ginsburg was one of the architects of the redistricting lawsuits brought by Republicans in 1992 that resulted in the congressional district held by Democrat U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown that weaves through a dozen counties and packs blacks into the district to give her a minority influence district. Heffley, who was a member of the Florida Republican Party staff at the time. In 2012, Heffley was paid $10,000 a month by the RPOF for redistricting work.
Plaintiffs’ attorney David King showed Terraferma several emails from Heffley, many of them with cryptic references to maps and redistricting. Terraferma repeatedly said he could not recall what the emails were referencing.
At one point, King showed Terraferma an email he sent to a member of the Republican National Committee redistricting staff. "I was seeking technical assistance,'' Terraferma said. "You remember that,'' King responded. "That's one of the things you do remember in this case."