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THE BUZZ: FLORIDA POLITICS

Scott targets 'millionaire's amendment' McCollum in lawsuit

Rick Scott, the deep-pocketed Republican front-runner for governor, sued the state Wednesday in an effort to prevent his personal wealth from helping his primary rival, Attorney General Bill McCollum.

Scott filed suit in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee challenging part of Florida's public campaign financing system known as the "millionaire's amendment." The provision allows traditional candidates such as McCollum to obtain tax dollars to subsidize their campaigns when they are being vastly outspent by independently wealthy candidates like Scott.

Scott must agree to limit his campaign expenditures to $24.9-million in the primary or else the state will give McCollum $1 for every dollar Scott spends over the cap. As Scott inches ever closer to that total, his lawsuit argues that the cap is a violation of his First Amendment rights because it restricts his speech by benefiting his opponents' speech.

Posted by Marc Caputo at 09:50:00 PM on July 7, 2010

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More on McCollum and Ariz. immigration law

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum continues to face questions about the Arizona immigration law. Today, speaking before a crowd of about 80 at the Capital City Republican Club, McCollum said: "First of all, with regard to Arizona, I strongly support Arizona's immigration law as amended. And I never said I didn't."

That sounds correct to us. When the original version passed, McCollum called that law "far out." Then, when Arizona lawmakers added some amendments intended to safeguard against racial profiling, McCollum said he supports it. We couldn't find anytime where he said he doesn't support the amended law. (You'll remember that right-wing darling Marco Rubio had a similar change of heart.)

According to one person at the event, McCollum might have some more explaining to do about his comments (blasted in numerous Rick Scott ads) that "We don't need that law in Florida." Arlen Schwerin, a 69-year-old attendee said, "I'm not sure he really made it clear to me as to why he said that."

Posted by Lee Logan at 03:57:15 PM on July 7, 2010

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Jeff Greene blankets Florida with 'jobs' mailer

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene said today he's sending a mailer across Florida to tout his ideas on job creation.

"I am the only candidate for Senate who's actually created jobs. I'm not a career politician. I'm a job creator who's met payrolls, cut expenditures, balanced multi-million dollar budgets, and spread hope and opportunity to places that have never seen it before. In short, I've gotten results," Greene asserts in the mailer. (Returning the implied shot, Kendrick Meek's team notes that one of Greene's investments has gone bankrupt.)

Greene's plan is broad and offers no backup on how it would be carried out. It includes everything from extending the small business innovation research program to making Florida a "leader in clean energy manufacturing, especially solar, and expand the innovation and development of renewable energy."

According to Greene, the "Jobs for Florida Plan" includes:

Invest In Small Businesses Across Florida:

Expand lending through the Small Business Administration's loan program to encourage more start-ups and enable small businesses to hire and train more workers.

Extend the Small Business Innovation Research program.

Increase research grants to small businesses that are developing new technologies.

Reduce health care costs and expand tax-exempt employee benefits for small businesses.

Protect Florida small businesses from the special interest career politicians, and oppose oil drilling off Florida's shores.

Invest in Green Technology to Create Florida Jobs:

Jumpstart the economy by investing in green technology and create new jobs right here in Florida.

Make Florida a leader in clean energy manufacturing, especially solar, and expand the innovation and development of renewable energy.

Expand incentives for energy efficiency and green energy, including rebates and tax credits for families to make their homes more energy efficient.

Put construction workers who lost their jobs in the housing bust back to work insulating and weatherizing Florida's homes.

Promote Agriculture And Get Florida Building Again:

Invest in Florida agriculture, from citrus and vegetable farms to nurseries and cattle ranches, to make it sustainable and profitable.

Help Florida's agricultural industry grow and succeed with tax incentives for Florida farmers who invest in agricultural innovation and technology.

Ensure infrastructure investment decisions are based on merit and contribute to economic growth, and get politicians away from pork barrel politics, like the infamous "bridge to nowhere."

Real Tax Reform to Create Jobs:

Tax big Wall Street bonuses and use the revenues to deliver tax cuts and incentives for small businesses to hire more workers.

Declare a payroll tax holiday for new businesses and mom and pop outfits so they can invest in new jobs.

Expand the federal R & D tax credit to businesses that invest in research and development.

Close tax loopholes for the rich to provide real tax reduction for middle-class and working families without increasing the deficit.

Extend unemployment insurance benefits to help out-of-work families get by in the tough economy.

Posted by Alex Leary at 12:38:20 PM on July 7, 2010

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McCollum: Obama wrong to fight Arizona law

Attorney General Bill McCollum criticized President Obama Wednesday over the White House decision to challenge Arizona's anti-immgration law. A reporter at a news conference asked McCollum for his reaction to the lawsuit. (McCollum's GOP rival, Rick Scott, has been more vocal than McCollum in supporting the Arizona law

"I think the amended Arizona immigration law is fine. I have no problem with it at all. I support it," McCollum said. "With regard to the president's challenge, I think it's a mistake on his part. I think it's highly political. I think this administration has failed to adequately use the laws on the books to enforce immigration, especially on the border ... I think he's wrong. I think he'll lose in court. I think states have the right to enforce their own laws."

McCollum called a news conference to announce submission of a waiver to the Obama administration to allow his agency the ability to "data mine" the records of the state Medicaid agency to expand its reach in investigating Medicaid fraud. McCollum first raised the issue with the administration in May of 2009.

McCollum said he was optimistic that the request would be approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and he did not believe his lawsuit challenging the Obama health care plan would be a factor whatsoever in the feds' decision.

Posted by Steve Bousquet at 11:22:45 AM on July 7, 2010

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Potential Arizona-style immigration law divides Florida public, law enforcement

TAMPA - Neil Lewis' cramped immigration law office reverberates from the ring of yet another telephone call. Each anxious voice on the other end poses the same question.

"Is that going to come here?" Lewis said, echoing his clients' apprehensive queries.

Across the state, Floridians are paying close attention as state lawmakers begin to craft a tough, Arizona-style immigration law that would grant law enforcement officials broad authority to act as immigration investigators.

Posted by Alex Leary at 10:28:03 AM on July 7, 2010

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Marco Rubio's new video

VIDEO

Posted by Adam Smith at 08:01:19 AM on July 7, 2010

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