Carlos Beruff casts himself as Senate outsider but record shows prolific campaign donations
Carlos Beruff bluntly declares politicians "worthless" in television commercials and proclaims himself an outsider ready to change Washington as Florida's next senator.
But a Times/Herald analysis of campaign donations shows the Manatee County land developer has been a major fundraiser for local, state and federal politicians. Since 2002, Beruff and his business holdings have made more than 730 campaign donations to support 103 political candidates — including a few Democrats — totalling just over $1 million. Congressional candidates, governors, county commissioners and presidential contenders have all benefitted.
While Senate rivals say the donations prove Beruff, 58, is the ultimate insider wielding a checkbook to gain influence, Beruff says he is the hunt for good governance.
"Giving money doesn't make you an insider," Beruff said. "If that's considered being an insider, I guess Donald Trump is an insider. That doesn't make sense."
Among the beneficiaries: Gov. Rick Scott, a super PAC that supported Jeb Bush's 2016 presidential bid, then-Republican U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Crist, a political committee run by former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former President George W. Bush and two-time presidential candidate Mitt Romney.