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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott's new 527 fund will boost his campaign



After filing qualifying papers for governor Thursday, Republican Rick Scott said he would abide by state-imposed spending caps of $24.9-million in his primary race with Attorney General Bill McCollum. This is a double-edged sword for McCollum, who would have received a dollar-for-dollar match for every dollar Scott spent over the cap.

But Scott has already spent more than $15-million, and at the rate he's going he will easily exceed the spending limit, or "bust the cap," in Florida political jargon. So how can he stay under the cap? The answer is obvious: a newly-formed 527 fund-raising committee, Let's Get to Work, created on May 27 (the records custodian for this 527 is John French, a Tallahassee election law specialist and a paid consultant to Scott's campaign).

"We're going to stay within the caps," Scott said. "We opened a 527. That will help us stay within the cap,  absolutely." 

McCollum has a like-minded 527, called the Florida First Initiative. McCollum confirms he is helping the group raise money. "When somebody wants to know how they can help me in some way beyond my campaign, I've directed them to them recently, because I've seen that that's a source where they can be helpful," McCollum said, but he added his campaign has no control over the group's work. 

Scott says McCollum's role requires him to file a disclosure form with the state, which McCollum has not done.

Scott feigned shock when reporters told him that McCollum indeed filed qualifying papers. "I thought he was going to go back and run for attorney general," Scott said.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:43am]


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