How McCollum's attack on Sink boomerangs on Crist, RPOF
Down in fundraising and virtually tied in the polls, Attorney General Bill McCollum's campaign is hitting** at state CFO Alex Sink for not offering to return all the political campaign contributions raised by Broward lawyer Scott Rothstein, who's under scrutiny for alleged financial improprieties.
Sink offered to return $2,000 contributed by Rothstein, his wife and their businesses. But the Democrat is keeping the c. $240K hauled in from a Rothstein fundraiser. Her campaign says it will return any other money that is shown to be questionable.
But in attacking Sink over Rothstein's money, McCollum is unwittingly (or wittingly, perhaps?) raising the question: Should McCollum's fellow Republican, Gov. Charlie Crist, return the $80,450** directly contributed by Rothstein and his law partners to Crist's U.S. Senate campaign? Crist allies estimate Rothstein could account for as much as $500,000 to $1 million in contributions to Crist.
Here's what Crist's campaign said: "The campaign is aware of and closely monitoring the potentially serious allegations concerning Mr. Rothstein. We will respond appropriately once the facts are substantiated."
Translation: We're not returning a penny right now.
Then there's the matter of the Republican Party of Florida. Rothstein accounted for at least $789,375 in contributions to various state and federal party committees, according to federal and state records. Rothstein also accounted for another $10,000 to RPOF chairman Jim Greer's 527.
The party said in a statement that, until wrongdoing is proved, it won't return any Rothstein cash contributed this past quarter.
Nice one, Bill.
**From the McCollum campaign:
Tallahassee – Bill McCollum for Governor Campaign Manager Matt Williams issued the following statement today regarding CFO Alex Sink’s announcement that she will return $2,000 in contributions from embattled fundraiser Scott Rothstein.
“It seems CFO Sink would now like to wash her hands of Scott Rothstein, the embattled fundraiser she once wooed. Her proactive step to return $2,000 from Rothstein and his entities is noted, but Rothstein himself boasted of raising Sink’s campaign a total of $240,000.
And if Mr. Rothstein’s bold assertions about his fundraising prowess are true, CFO Sink should immediately turn over the remaining $238,000 to federal authorities. It’s simply the right thing to do.”
Marc Caputo, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau