April 11, 2018 / In The News

Florida Politics: FEC complaint charges Rick Scott with ‘soft money’ fundraising before Senate campaign launch

By: A.G. Gancarski

Gov. Rick Scott, a newly-minted candidate for Senate, faces his first Federal Elections Commission complaint a day after his campaign launch.

In comments Wednesday in Jacksonville, Scott disclaimed responsibility for the issue when we asked him if he had used the New Republican PAC, a federal Super PAC, to skirt campaign finance laws by fundraising without formally ‘testing the waters’ for a Senate bid.”

“As you know, I’m only responsible for the campaign account. The campaign account is what we’re responsible for,” Scott said.

“You’d have to reach out to people at New Republican. We’re very transparent in what we do,” Scott added. “I’m responsible for the campaign account. You have to separate it when you have federal races.”

On Tuesday, the political action committee “End Citizens United” charged Scott with using “his position as chair of the New Republican PAC, a federal Super PAC, to skirt campaign finance laws by fundraising without formally ‘testing the waters’ for a Senate bid.”

Per the formal complaint, “Scott appears to be using the super PAC, New Republican PAC, of which he is the chair, to raise and spend soft money to support his candidacy for U.S. Senate.”

The complaint contends that the PAC was ultimately an arm of the Scott campaign.

“On April 9, 2018, the same day that Scott declared his candidacy for Senate, the Committee revamped its website and mission. Though the PAC’s website previously indicated that its purpose was to support President Trump, Committee transformed overnight into ‘an Independent Expenditure-Only PAC (i.e., a Super PAC) focused on the election of Rick Scott in the race for Florida United States Senate.’”

“It does not appear as if Scott has relinquished his role as Chair of the Committee since declaring his federal candidacy,” the complaint continues, adding that Scott has paid consultants out of the PAC since May 2017.

We asked Scott about fundraising for the New Republican PAC in February; he had little to say about it at the time. As was his tendency, he said that all questions about a Senate campaign should be left to the “pundits.”

However, the complaint contends that the PAC was ultimately an arm of the Scott campaign.

“On April 9, 2018, the same day that Scott declared his candidacy for Senate, the Committee revamped its website and mission. Though the PAC’s website previously indicated that its purpose was to support President Trump, Committee transformed overnight into ‘an Independent Expenditure-Only PAC (i.e., a Super PAC) focused on the election of Rick Scott in the race for Florida United States Senate.’”

“It does not appear as if Scott has relinquished his role as Chair of the Committee since declaring his federal candidacy,” the complaint continues, adding that Scott has paid consultants out of the PAC since May 2017.

Read the original article in Florida Politics

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