weather unavailableweather unavailable
Make us your home page
Instagram

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Political parties face slower fundraising quarter

10

April

Florida’s political parties faced a more subdued fundraising quarter to begin this year as legislators were forced into a self-imposed fundraising ban during an early legislative session and Gov. Rick Scott steered cash to his political committee. 

The Republican Party of Florida raised $2.9 million in the first fundraising quarter of the year, substantially down from the $7.4 million raised in the previous quarter when legislative leaders weren’t bound by a legislative fundraising ban. By contrast, Scott raised $1.3 million for his “Let’s Get to Work” committee in the period from Jan. 1 through March 31 alone. 

The Florida Democratic Party raised $1.1 million for the quarter, down slightly from the $1.7 million raised for the preceeding quarter. 

The big money for Republicans came from the legislative issues conveniently punted to another year: bringing destination resort casinos to Florida, giving optometrists prescription powers and deciding which giant health insurers will compete for a piece of the Medicaid reform pie. 

Universal Studios dished out $180,000 in in-kind gifts to the party, followed by $127,500 from Disney Worldwide Services, which fought mightily to stave off the casino push, and $100,000 from Genting New York, the Malaysian-based company that wanted to bring an oceanfront resort and casino to the shores of Miami. The Seminole Tribe of Florida, a quiet but powerful opponent to the casino effort, also handed the party a $125,000 check on the day the legislative session started.

But the industry that gave the most cash were the insurance giants. Blue Cross/Blue Shield, a perennial player in the big money politics of Tallahassee, dished out $280,650 to the RPOF and another $100,000 to the governor’s political committee. 

Aetna Inc. gave $150,000 to the party while United Group Underwriters, an auto insurer, gave the governor's committee $100,000. Gary Morse, developer of The Villlages mega-community in Central Florida, showed the governor his love with three checks totally $160,000. And the Florida Optometric CCE gave the governor $100,000 just in case the bill to give them prescription powers crossed his desk. It never scaled the legislative fence.

Miami-Dade health-care executive Miguel Fernandez gave $125,000. His HMO, Simply Healthcare Plans Inc., is hoping to get a piece of the Medicaid HMO rush. 

The Geo Group on April 4 sent the governor a $100,000 thank you gift for his late-to-the-cause embrace of their private prison push. The Boca Raton-based company also gave the Democratic Party a $10,000 check at the start of session.

 A new player on the Florida fundraising horizon is Koch Industries, the Wichita-based energy conglomereate, which gave the RPOF $40,000 and dozens of candidates another $10,500.

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 12:18am]

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...