Douglas M. Guetzloe (June 15, 1954 – February 6, 2018) was the founder and chairman of Ax the Tax; a radio talk show host and founder of an internet broadcasting network.

Radio host Doug Guetzloe

Biography edit

Guetzloe was a community activist who headed Ax the Tax, an anti-tax group in Florida, and a radio talk show host[1] heard exclusively on the Phoenix Network, an internet radio station which he owned. His activities involve political and civic affairs in Central Florida as well as state and national issues.[2] A graduate of Florida State University, Guetzloe served as the university's student body president (his student body vice president was former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist). Following graduation Guetzloe moved to Orlando, Florida to accept a position as public relations director for the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association. Two years later, he was appointed the regional director for the Florida Medical Association where he handled public relations, lobbying and political matters in a 17-county area of Florida.

Guetzloe founded Ax the Tax[3] in 1982 and shortly thereafter established a public relations and marketing company called Advantage Consultants. He contended his leadership as chair of Ax the Tax has led to 17 successful anti-tax battles.[4] His successes have ranged from defeating the 2003 Mobility 20/20 sales tax increase for transportation[5] to being described as "a knight in shining armor charging in on his white horse" [6] by a city commissioner for successfully saving a historic trailer park in Winter Garden, Florida.

Florida Taxpayers Union edit

Guetzloe helped found the Florida Taxpayers Union in 2004 as an affiliate of the National Taxpayers Union, a grassroots organization working for lower taxes, smaller government and accountability from public officials.[7] The Florida group maintains it has more than 140,000 members, supporters and contributors throughout the state.[8] The issues the Florida Taxpayers Union focuses on include high taxes that undermine private market competition, state regulatory burdens, wasteful government spending and lawsuit abuse. The group also promotes more access to school choice for parents, private property rights, a taxpayer bill of rights to restrain the growth of government and increased domestic oil and gas production for energy needs.[9]

Ax the Tax Rally

Campaign Flyer and First Amendment edit

In 2006, Guetzloe was charged with 14 misdemeanors for distributing a political campaign mailer that did not identify who paid for the flyer. Although 13 counts were dismissed in 2008 by Florida's 5th District Court of Appeal[10] and Florida First District Federal Judge Stephen Mickle threw out the state's electioneering communications law in 2009 [11] (the law which Guetzloe was charged under), Guetzloe was sentenced to a 60-day jail term by Orange County Circuit Judge C. Jeffery Arnold in May 2011.[12] Guetzloe claimed he was the only person in America put in jail for not putting a seven-word disclaimer on a political campaign flyer.[13] He also cited the 1995 U.S. Supreme Court ruling (McIntyre vs. Ohio Elections Commission),[14] which stated that prohibition of the distribution of anonymous campaign literature abridges free speech in violation of the First Amendment.

In 2009, Guetzloe helped his longtime attorney Fred O’Neal found the Florida TEA Party,[15] a registered political party in Florida, and created a firestorm of controversy resulting in lawsuits against O’Neal, Guetzloe and the Florida TEA Party.[16] All lawsuits were settled in favor of O’Neal, Guetzloe and the fledgling Florida TEA Party.[17] O'Neal said the Florida TEA Party may have helped Florida Governor Rick Scott win a close race with Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum in the 2010 Republican Primary for Governor, citing e-mails sent to 100,000 Floridians in the final hours of the primary.[18]

The Guetzloe Report edit

In 2010, Guetzloe formed The Phoenix Network and placed his long-running radio show[19] on the network. The Guetzloe Report, which began broadcasting daily in January 1997,[20] receives an average of 12,000 listeners a day with some shows reaching more than 50,000 listeners.[21] In February 2011, Guetzloe and the Phoenix Network were invited to broadcast live from the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum at the Centennial Celebration of Ronald Reagan’s birthday.[22] In 2011, Guetzloe was designated Republican presidential campaign commentator on The Voice of Russia, the Russian government's international radio service.[23] Guetzloe’s work as a radio commentator, political consultant and anti-tax activist “makes him unique among political figures in Florida,” according to the Orlando Sentinel. “Regular targets range from the mayors of Orlando and Orange County to the Orlando Sentinel to other lobbyists he considers enemies.”[24]

Doug Guetzloe arriving at court.

In 2012, Guetzloe was found guilty of two misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file tax returns. The two counts arose from Guetzloe's failure to file tax returns for 2005 and 2006. Guetzloe accrued over $180,000 in income during each of the years he failed to file returns. At the trial Guetzloe was represented by a public defender.[25]

Guetzloe was married and had three children. He died on February 6, 2018.[26]

References edit

  1. ^ "Radio show feels right to Guetzloe". Orlando Business Journal. 20 January 1997. pp. 1–3.
  2. ^ Schlueb, Mark (October 15, 2006). "Doug Guetzloe: A man for all political seasons". Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on March 4, 2014. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  3. ^ "Ax the Tax-Wins Web Site Award". Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  4. ^ Guetzloe, Doug. "Axe The Tax - Grassroots Success". Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  5. ^ Orlando Sentinel.
  6. ^ "Doug Guetzloe: A man for all political seasons -". Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 2014-03-04. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  7. ^ "NTU and Florida". National Taxpayers Union.
  8. ^ "Contact Us". Florida Taxpayers Union.
  9. ^ "Issues". Florida Taxpayers Union.
  10. ^ Orlando Sentinel.
  11. ^ "Orlando Sentinel - Federal judge strikes down Florida ECO law by Aaron Deslatte". The Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2009-07-14. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  12. ^ Orlando Sentinel.
  13. ^ Smithson, Jim. "Judge defies Florida Supreme Court and Orders Florida's Top Anti-Tax Crusader to Jail over First Amendment battle". Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  14. ^ US Supreme Court Center.
  15. ^ Politico.
  16. ^ "Florida TEA Party Fight Boiling over". Sunshine State News. 21 June 2010.
  17. ^ "Lawsuit Against TEA Party Dropped; More Legal Fireworks Ahead". Sunshine State News. 5 November 2010.
  18. ^ "TEA Party Backs Rick Scott for Governor in November". Sunshine State News. September 2010.
  19. ^ "Radio show feels right to Guetzloe". Orlando Business Journal. 20 January 1997. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  20. ^ "Radio show feels right to Guetzloe". Orlando Business Journal.
  21. ^ "Doug Guetzloe Streaming Radio". Streaming Radio Guide. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  22. ^ "Phoenix Network heading to California for celebration honoring President Reagan". Freeline Media Orlando. 18 January 2011.
  23. ^ "Herman Cain suspends presidential bid". The Voice of Russia.
  24. ^ "Doug Guetzloe: A man for all political seasons". Orlando Sentinel.
  25. ^ "Jury: Guetzloe failed to file tax returns". Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  26. ^ Gillespie, Paul Brinkmann, Ryan. "Doug Guetzloe, conservative political consultant, dead at 63". Retrieved 10 February 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)