Rick Scott is blowing through millions in campaign dollars like a millionaire who has money to burn would, because he does. Granted, we don't know the extent of his personal fortune, and thanks to that
blind trust, much of it is shielded from public view. So are the ways he may stand to profit, should he get another four years in office. A casual observer would surmise this could mean a great deal.
That would explain his desperation, and why he keeps spending at a rapid rate, and attempting to raise even more. For all the money he's spent so far, and that's after nearly a year of "campaigning," it hasn't helped his poll numbers much. He's been at rock bottom for his years in office, and that certainly hasn't changed, for good reason. He's a disaster. Floridians don't like him. He's also bad at trying to buy their votes. So far all he's given the average Floridian is throwing them a bone that will save them pocket change on auto tags, and only those who renew them during a certain time frame.
No, most of that money is going into smoke and mirrors to fool the public, and as we've already seen, it's backfiring. Anyone paying attention to what Scott and the Republicans in the legislature are doing know that most of the money in the state is going to private businesses through tax cuts, government contracts, shredded regulations, and numerous other things that add up to huge profits for those who cough up big Scott donations, at Floridians' expense.
To add taxpayer insult to profitable injury, Scott is even campaigning on the taxpayer's dime. In Florida that's just business as usual, and no one in power seems interested in doing anything about it.
Think about it: Rick Scott is using taxpayer dollars to run against the very people he's hurting. If that sounds familiar, it should. Scott's done this before, mostly through lawsuits Floridians foot the bill for. Lawsuits that materialized because Scott was attempting to take people's rights away. Drug testing for welfare recipients, drug testing for state employees, voter suppression, and health care, just to name a few. And Scott isn't alone. Pam Bondi has done the same thing fighting against the Affordable Care Act and fighting to take away access to contraception. Lucky for us, most of their efforts have failed.
While Scott's busy blowing through all those piles of campaign cash, so far they haven't helped him in the minds of the voters, and it shows.
Take this observation from Charlie Crist campaign consultant Kevin Cate:
By our accounting and published reports, by the end of session, Rick Scott will have hemorrhaged about $20 million to artificially boost his horrible poll numbers. And that may be low balling it because this doesn't include spending by opaque 501c4 groups, such as Americans for Prosperity and Progressive Choice, groups that share the goal of re-electing Rick Scott.And that spending is only since Charlie Crist, the People’s Governor, announced in November.
Let’s put that in perspective.
At this time last cycle, Rick Scott had spent less than $4 million against Bill McCollum and Alex Sink. As we all know now, that was on his way to spending $95 million in 2010, a far friendlier climate for a tea party candidate than 2014.
To match his extravagant spending from 2010, Rick Scott needs to raise way, way more than the $100 million his campaign has boasted about. In fact, to match what Scott spent from May through Election Day in 2010, he’d have to spend another $91 million on top of the $20 million he’s already thrown away. And that money won't go nearly as far, since he has a much bigger campaign bureaucracy to fund.
Remember, this is a man who has been alone on TV promoting lies and deceptions.He has also spent carelessly online. The only frugal aspect of his campaign is the illegal part where he uses taxpayer resources to prep him for campaign speeches and stage campaign commercial shoots.
By comparison, Charlie Crist has yet to spend anything on TV commercials, and has a much leaner campaign operation. In fact, some top advisers are simply volunteers, a testament to the fact that the Crist campaign is in this to take back Florida for the people, not themselves.
When we begin to communicate on paid media, we will continue to communicate for the remainder of the cycle, and Rick Scott’s mountain of money will have been wasted.
Remember, this was the $25 million he intended to bully his competition out of the race. He said as much.
Now that’s basically gone. And it didn’t work.
So where did the RGA get its money? New federal tax records show that developers, utilities and pharmaceutical companies were among those who wrote five- and six-figure donations to the association around the time it made its eye-popping donation to Scott.
-- Zuffa LLC, the parent company of Ultimate Fighting Championship, which gave $100,000 to the RGA on Jan. 10. Zuffa is currently lobbying the Florida Legislature this spring to rewrite boxing and mixed-martial art regulations and to exempt some of its fight records from the state’s public-records law. If they pass, Scott will have to decide whether to sign or veto them.
-- Deloitte Services LLP, which gave $50,000 on Jan. 16. Deloitte’s consulting division was the vendor blamed for the disastrous rollout of Florida’s new unemployment-benefits website – and the vendor that just won another, $31.6 million state contract, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
-- Florida Power & Light, which gave $150,000 on Jan. 17. (Parent company Nextera Energy Inc. gave another $350,000 to the RGA on Feb. 4.) The Juno Beach-based utility is involved in myriad issues in Florida politics, including trying to beat back attempts to repeal a controversial nuclear-power fee it is allowed to charge customers.
-- Comprehensive Health Management, a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans Inc., the Tampa-based managed-care company, which gave $55,000 on Jan. 17 and another $195,000 on Jan. 24. Scott’s administration recommended a WellCare subsidiary for a Medicaid contract just last fall.
A host of other businesses and individuals gave money to the RGA shortly before it donated to Scott, from drug-maker Pfizer ($250,000 on Jan. 10) to Station Casinos ($100,000 on Jan. 10) to Delta Air Lines($25,000 on Jan. 10). The association raised more than $22 million in all during the January-through-March quarter, according to its filings with the Internal Revenue Service.
It's not hard to connect the dots to get a glimpse at Floridians' future should those donations influence Scott and legislators who stand to rake in their own cash if they do what the business interests want. If there's anyone in Florida who believes all that money won't influence them in any way, I would gladly print out this blog post and eat it upon meeting them.
But wait. There's more. That $2.5 million isn't nearly enough for Scott and the RPOF. They want more, and Chris Christie, the chairman of the RGA, better known these days as the "Time for some traffic problems in New Jersey" man, is about to lend them a hand to get it. The king of political endorsement revenge is appearing in Largo tomorrow with Scott to brag up his elimination of the manufacturing sales tax, followed by yet another fundraiser in Lakeland.
Birds of a feather plot against constituents together?
How much more money will Scott burn through in his ongoing effort to stay as CEO of Florida, Inc.? Does he own a mint somewhere too? Because he's going to need one at the rate he's going.
Time for some traffic problems in Florida on the way back to the governor's office in November.