McCollum soliciting contributions for shadowy political group
UPDATED: Attorney General Bill McCollum is using his name to solicit contributions for the Florida First Initiative, which is airing attack ads against rival Rick Scott (see below),despite his campaign's suggestion that they are not affiliated.
New documents obtained by the Times/Herald show that McCollum's name is being used in the political group's fundraising pitch and his campaign finance director, Carrie O'Rourke, is involved in the solicitation. "Bill McCollum asked that I forward this information to you," the email solicitation reads, followed by the group's M&S Bank in Gainesville account number.
McCollum, who prides himself on his public disclosure record, could not be reached for comment because he is fundraising in South Florida. His campaign spokeswoman Kristy Campbell wouldn't answer questions other than to say Florida First Initiative "is not run by our campaign."
As it appears now, the political group -- called a federal 527 under IRS tax code -- is unregistered in Florida, which flies in the face of the new campaign finance law, but does not violate it.
When a Cabinet official who solicits directly (or indirectly) on behalf of a 527, he or she must file a disclosure with the Department of State. McCollum has filed no such disclosure.
See the attack ad, "Refused," here.