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Subject of 10 News Investigation considers Congressional run | News

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Subject of 10 News Investigation considers Congressional run

UPDATE (10-29-13): A statement from Pinson has been added at the bottom of the article.

UPDATE (11-6-13): Pinson e-mailed press a statement saying he will not run for Congress because of "reconstructive [neck] surgery."

PINELLAS COUNTY, Florida - With names like Alex Sink and Rick Baker dominating discussions over who will replace Bill Young in Congress, a dark horse says he's considering a run.  The potential candidate also happens to be the former subject of a 10 News investigation.

Michael Pinson, a life-long Pinellas County resident and self-described "Conservative Constitutionalist," posted on his Facebook page that he has formed a exploratory committee into a possible Congressional run.  He also posted the note - with a poll - on the Facebook page of the grass-roots group he founded, "Americans for Freedom."

In 2011, the 10 News Investigators revealed Pinson had created the non-profit "Pinson Foundation," designed to mix partying and charity.  But according to IRS filings, more money appeared to go to expensive fundraising events than to actual charities.

A Gulf War veteran, Pinson also exaggerated his accomplishments, from serving as a "special ops military police officer" to "garnering consideration for a U.S. Senate seat."

Pinson ran a book distribution center at the time, but has since liquidated it.  He identifies himself as "semi-retired" on his Facebook page, but has remained active politically.

Pinson did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but has since closed the online poll and removed his announcement post from his Facebook page.

So far, only one candidate has declared for the Congressional seat, which encompasses most of Pinellas County: Democrat Jessica Erlich.

But Sink, Baker, Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, and several members of Bill Young's family are among the many names rumored to be considering runs as well.  A date has not yet been set for the special election.

UPDATE (10-29-13): In a message from his Facebook account, Pinson tells 10 News, "I have no comment for the press at this time. There is a lot of support for me to run for this seat. I am looking into this with friends and family. I am also waiting to see who announces to run."

Find 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook or follow his updates on Twitter. Send your story tips to noah@wtsp.com.


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