Scotts focus: FLs top one percent citizens

caines | 4/18/2013, 5:30 a.m.

The people in the State of Florida may not like or support Governor Rick Scott, but his re-election campaign has raised $4.6 million in the first three months of 2013. Republicans control politics in Florida, even though there are more Democrats registered in the state. Scotts re-election campaign machine entitled Lets Get to Work is raking in cash and checks at the rate of $50,000 a day. At this point our governor is not worried about the 99 percent of Florida residents. Instead, he is concentrating on the 1 percent in the state who are wealthy or head the major corporations. Scott is spending his evenings meeting and being introduced to the rich and famous by Brian Ballard, Charlie Crists ex-chief fundraiser. Scott, the incumbent, is now considered an insider and part of the team and the 1 percent is writing big checks. Scott has set a goal to raise $100 million from his political friends and he will also probably throw in another $50 million of his own money. Since our governor has taken office, he has raised almost $10 million for his campaign and the average check has been $10,000. His largest check has been from Bill Edwards, a Treasure Island businessman and entertainment mogul who operates St. Petersburgs Mahaffey Theater. He gave $500,000. Many think in a campaign, a supporter can only write a check for $500, but that does not apply to an electioneering communications organization [ECO]. With an ECO, Scott can accept checks in unlimited amounts. The only limitation on activities by Lets Get to Work is that it cant expressly advocate Scotts re-election by using words such as vote for or elect in advertising. ECOs must have a website and post all contributions and expenses in five days. During this 2013 legislature session the major corporations are lining up to make donations to Scotts re-election campaign. Florida Blue has contributed a check for $237,500, Florida Power & Light has donated $250,000, and Progress Energy has given $100,000. To many political experts, these checks would appear to be a conflict of interest, but they are being written anyway and no one is asking questions about the money. Its time that the media and different political organizations begin to ask why these Florida companies are contributing such large sums of money to the governor, when he signs bills that can either hurt or help their companies. When Scott receives a check of $250,000 from Fort Lauderdale billionaire H. Wayne Hulzenga, and his son has just been appointed to the University systems Board of Governors, there need to be questions asked. Our governor has also received large donations from the Villages $100,000, Bayfront Development of Miami $100,000, Trump $50,000, and developer Gary Morse, $50,000. As the money keeps rolling in, maybe the Ethics Department needs to determine if these checks are influencing our governors decisions. When major companies are contributing hundreds of thousands of dollar to our governors re-election campaign during a legislation session something smells and appears to be rotten. Money can influence people, and make them change their minds, because they are only thinking about the money they are going to receive. It is very easy to forget what is right for the people and only be concerned about the signee of the check. Roger Caldwell is the CEO of On Point Media Group in Orlando.