April 10, 2018 / Election 2018

End Citizens United Files FEC Complaint Against Gov. Rick Scott

In evading laws and manipulating the system, Scott was able to coordinate with the New Republican Super PAC and raise nearly $1.2 million from mega-donors ahead of announcing Senate run

Following Monday’s announcement that Governor Rick Scott is running for U.S. Senate, End Citizens United (ECU) today filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Committee (FEC) against Florida Governor Rick Scott and New Republican PAC. As Governor, Scott used 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. Scott was also able to skirt federal contribution limits and the restrictions on corporate donations to candidates.

As Chair of the New Republican PAC, Scott hired multiple former campaign staffers and consultants including his long-time fundraiser Deborah Aleksander and his former chief of staff and 2014 campaign manager Melissa Stone. In fundraising for the New Republican PAC, Scott traveled across the country to California, as well as reached out to his previous campaign donors who had not typically given to federal committees. New Republican’s biggest donors included wealthy individuals and corporations that had “fared well” in recent Florida state legislative sessions.

The Violation:
This Complaint is filed pursuant to 52 U.S.C. § 30109(a)(1) against Rick Scott, Rick Scott for Florida, New Republican PAC, and Mori Hosseini, Treasurer (collectively, “Respondents”) for multiple violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the “Act”).  In short, 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.

“Before Scott’s Senate campaign had even formally started, he 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,” said Adam Bozzi, communications director for End Citizens United. “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.”

The FEC provides a limited “testing the waters” exception to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, where an individual may raise and spend funds “solely for the purpose of determining whether an individual should become a candidate.”  However, “only funds permissible under the Act may be used for such activities.” It appears Scott has violated this prohibition by using the Committee to support his federal candidacy.

Click here to read the FEC complaint. 

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