TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Election Day 2012 had not even ended before reelection 2014 kicked off for Gov. Rick Scott.
“Nobody is going to believe, in their right mind, that those people don't have more access, that their phone numbers won't be recognized,” said Ann Hellmuth of the Orange County League of Women Voters.
Hellmuth argues that such mega-donations undermine the confidence of regular voters.
9 Investigates found, over just November and December of last year, Scott’s “Let’s Get to Work” Campaign Committee took in:
- $50,000 from the Florida Retail Federation
- $50,000 from Palm Beach businessman Lloyd Miller
- $100,000 from the company that wants to build mega-casinos in Florida, Bayfront 2011 Development
- $10,000 from real estate development firm, St. Joes Company
- $50,000 from insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida
- $100,000 from AT&T Services Inc.
That’s six donations, over just seven weeks, worth $360,000.
“Those people aren't giving $100,000 just because they want to put some nice trees up in Florida. They're giving $100,000 dollars because they want more people sitting at their tables,” said Hellmuth.
Scott’s fundraising is especially impressive compared to his opponents. Eleven opposition candidates have collectively raised less than a quarter of what Scott raised in two months. Many have no money on hand at all. Former House Representative Nan Rich raised the most, at about $80,000.
Scott’s spending has already started -- including one $205,000 payment to a Tallahassee consulting firm that will help him craft his message.
The governor’s late 2012 fundraising blitz was in addition to just less than $5 million his committee already had in the bank. He spent $73 million of his own money on his first election, something he is not expected to do again.
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