A newly filed complaint has been lodged against Florida Governor Rick Scott’s Political Action Committee (PAC) for violating federal campaign fundraising laws.
The ‘New Republican PAC’ started by Scott had a stated purpose of “rebranding the Republican Party.” But recently it abruptly made a change from GOP rebranding to being used as a tool to elect Scott as a U.S. Senator in his race this year against Democratic incumbent senator Bill Nelson.
Less than a day after Governor Scott made his big announcement about his candidacy for the Senate, a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint was lodged against him. The complaint alleges that he is breaking several election laws. The net effect of his legal violations is that he was able to avoid the limitations on contributions and thus he could raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in his senate campaign.
The progressive group End Citizens United filed the FEC complaint which alleges that Scott’s New Republican PAC was illegally being used to receive donations for his senate campaign against Nelson. PACs are not supposed to support candidates directly because they are not subject to the fundraising limitations.
End Citizens United says that Scott’s PAC was just a way for him to try to avoid and violate federal restrictions on unlimited donations and corporate donations.
Everybody knew he was going to run for the senate but he delayed his formal announcement until this week which gave him time to put together his campaign in a more formal and organized way. Meanwhile he was illegally raising campaign money through his PAC. As a “prospective” candidate he was allowed to have what is called “testing the waters” committees but these are also subject to the campaign contribution limits of $2,700 per individual.
“The very same day that Scott declared his federal candidacy, the Committee revamped its website, suddenly transforming itself from a committee dedicated to supporting President Trump to one dedicated to supporting Scott. This timing cannot be mere coincidence; instead, Scott and the Committee plainly prearranged this transition,” the complaint states. “Thus it appears as if Scott consented to the Committee spending funds on behalf of his candidacy, triggering candidacy for Scott on a date earlier than the one he declared. But regardless of when he triggered candidacy, it appears as if he has been using the Committee to improperly pay for expenses associated with his exploratory activities and his candidacy for Senate.”
End Citizens United Communications Director Adam Bozzi. said that before formally kicking off his campaign Monday, Scott “was already manipulating the law to serve himself. He’s used shady political tricks to advance his own ambitions, and it’s no wonder why Floridians don’t trust him to look out for them.”
“Scott won’t be able to play Florida voters for fools and they see right through his attempt to rig the system in his favor,” Bozzi added.
Recent polls say that the senate race between Scott and Nelson is tied, but with Scott cheating on fundraising this may give him an unfair advantage and help the Republicans keep control of the U.S. Senate.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.