McCollum’s tax-payer funded handouts not coming

McCollum was down to $800,000 cash on hand even though he was about to receive $1.7 million in state matching funds (yes, our tax dollars at work – telling you how to vote on the people who will tax us). The bad news for McCollum was that his campaign team had already publicly stated that they were expecting $2.5 million.

The McCollum Campaign is taking on water and there isn’t a bucket in sight

By Jamie Miller

Have you ever heard the saying, “I’m so poor I don’t have a bucket to spit in or a window to throw it out of?”

The Bill McCollum campaign must be waking up this morning having that feeling of despair.  They can’t win for losing, and losing, and losing. After Friday’s court decision from the 11th District Court of Appeals, it seems almost inevitable that August 24 will be Bill McCollum’s last day with his name on the ballot.

Bill McCollum wants tax $ to run his failing campaign.

The news wasn’t so good before Friday.

McCollum was down to $800,000 cash on hand even though he was about to receive $1.7 million in state matching funds (yes, our tax dollars at work – telling you how to vote on the people who will tax us).  The bad news for McCollum was that his campaign team had already publicly stated that they were expecting $2.5 million.

As Homer Simpson would say, – “Doh!”!

Polling hasn’t fared well for McCollum either.  A recent Quinnipiaic University survey has McCollum trailing his main GOP rival Rick Scott by about 11 points.  McCollum even released one of his internal polls recently that had him trailing by a scant 3 points.
 
McCollum’s team has continually been outmaneuvered by the newcomer whether it was turning down Scott’s call for debates early on, allowing Scott to establish the high ground, or spending most of his campaign dollars to try to stay in the race while banking on even more of our tax dollars to bail him out.

Which brings us to why McCollum and his campaign team are likely waking up to major hangovers this week – the court decision that allows Scott to continue to communicate to Florida voters regardless of the amount he wants to spend personally on the campaign.

Florida law states that if a candidate spent more than $2 per registered voter (this year $24.9 million) that the opposing candidate is allowed to petition the state for additional tax dollars to run their campaign.  It is, in fact, a dollar for dollar match after one candidate exceeds the cap.

This gets a little complicated and the opinion is 44 pages long, but the court basically said that the law violates Scott’s First Amendment Right to free speech.

Quite frankly, when you first read the opinion, you will be proud of our system of checks and balances.  I have long been a critic of campaign finance “reform.”  I think candidates, corporations and individuals should be allowed to support whichever candidate they want with however much money they want as long as there is a reasonable reporting method and that no money can be spent before it is publicly reported as a donation (let’s just say within 48 hours). 

The part of the opinion that will make you proud to be an American is when the circuit judge who was writing for the three-judge panel wrote, “each candidate will speak less if they lose the appeal.  Scott will avoid aiding his opponent and McCollum will have less money to aid his campaign.  We cannot say that the public has an interest in hearing more or less from either party.”

How refreshing is that?  The judicial branch isn’t going to tell candidates how much they can communicate to voters.  Isn’t that what voters want, more communication?  I’m willing to bet most would want more candidates to follow the footsteps of Gov. Jeb Bush who rejected public financing of his campaigns.

But the real kick in the rear to McCollum came when the court said there is no reason to “fast track” an appeal.  The judge said, “We also cannot say that enjoining the subsidy will disrupt the looming election.”

The window is closing on the McCollum campaign because later in the opinion the court says that there is no compelling reason, at this time, to lift the $500 per person contribution limit.  Fundraising ends for the August 24 election on August 19th.  Which means Bill McCollum has approximately $2.5 million to spend from about July 10th (when the last figures were made public) and August 24th.  Of course, he can continue to raise money, but at this point, who is going to donate?

Rick Scott has yet to say how this will change his campaign strategy, but one could guess that everyone in Florida will be seeing more communication from Rick Scott soon.

It’s amazing because the court seemed to almost sniff out McCollum’s desperation and it seemed Bill McCollum built much of his arguments against Scott in the proverbial sand.

McCollum argued that the rules were in place, he created his strategy based upon the rules, and the court shouldn’t change them.  Most observers of Florida politics and the court pointed out that after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Davis (2008) case that there were likely real problems with Florida’s contribution and spending limits.  The court simply didn’t buy McCollum’s argument that the limits are in place to avoid corruption when someone is self-financing. 

The court didn’t fall for McCollum’s lack of strategy when the judge wrote, “McCollum probably would have spent the same amount (of money)…with or without a provision for an excess spending subsidy.  McCollum spent mostly in response to Mr. Scott’s expenditures.”

The court concluded that McCollum likely spent what he planned on spending, but he didn’t get to spend it (or he didn’t have the discipline to spend it) WHEN he wanted to, and he just wanted our tax dollars to supplement his campaign failures. 

The effect of Friday’s ruling will likely be discussed by legal scholars and political scientists in the months ahead, but it does seem to me that the court clearly wants the Florida Legislature to determine the difference between contributions and spending limits in our law.  This has been an issue since at least 1998.  Many of the senior strategists on the McCollum team were in on the strategy when a guy named Jeb Bush was running for governor in 1998 and raised in excess of the spending limit at the time.  Buddy McKay thought he was going to get an influx of money at the end of the campaign, but since Bush never spent the money, McKay never received his subsidy of tax dollars.  Everyone involved in the McCollum campaign should have seen this coming.

Unfortunately for McCollum, he will likely join McKay in retirement if his own words from the court case come true.  Giving Scott relief would “deprive the public of two powerful and competing voices during the final weeks of the campaign.” 

You have to question whether McCollum ever had a strategy to be a “competing” voice since his strategy was to ensure that he was the only voice that was heard during the Republican primary.    McCollum was ill-prepared to handle a well-financed competing voice. 

Now that there is a competing voice, McCollum is sure to lose.

Jamie Miller has served as a senior strategist with many statewide campaigns including Bill McCollum’s successful bid for Florida Attorney General in 2006. E-mail him at: repjam@aol.com.

26 thoughts on “McCollum’s tax-payer funded handouts not coming”

  1. My problem with Rick Scott, other than the fact that he stole billions from Medicare, is that his ads completely misrepresent McCollum’s stance on illegal immigration.
    McCollum never said that he wasn’t in favor of the Arizona law. He said that he wouldn’t bring it here.
    In reality, there is no reason to bring it here when a stronger Federal law is in place to handle the problem.
    The fact is, that if Arizona had simply enforced the Federal law, they wouldn’t have this problem with their law now!
    With Scott constantly harping on, and misrepresenting McCollum’s words, he is making it sound like McCollum is in favor of illegal immigration, and nothing could be further from the truth.

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  2. Hopefully Republican voters won’t be listening to the $22 million STOLEN through Medicare fraud competing voice of Rick Scott who is ill prepared to run this state. It would never get to that point anyway as with Scott’s baggage of dishonesty and inexperience and the number of Republicans that are totally repulsed by him vs the large number of Democrats in this state and the money that will flow to her campaign, Alex Sink will beat Scott’s “get to work” campaign silly. This time, the GOP better listen to the editorial boards of the newspapers and endorsements of those who aren’t STUCK ON STUPID!!!!!

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/08/01/1755489/the-miami-herald-recommends.html

    http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/aug/01/co-mccollum-for-governor-in-gop-primary/news-opinion-editorials/

    http://jacksonville.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/stories/2010/07/26/daily21.html

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  3. Sandy, Sandy, Sandy…there you go again. You and your type villify the “liberal media” time and again. And then have no problem embracing the same said media when it is convenient to your bias and propoganda.

    Voters are through with all the BS from the establishment and those like you who support it.

    Bye, bye, Bill!

    Hello Governor Scott.

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  4. I remember a distant time when character was a vital component in any aspiring politician.

    Now it seems the general populace not only doesn’t seem to mind those who steal while in office, we have decided to send them in that way.

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  5. Make that now $28 million STOLEN through Medicare fraud spent by Scott to defame a decent man and buy and the Governor’s seat. And well said Layla.

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  6. Attorney General Bill McCollum should get whatever amount he is qualified to receive as a state candidate. Not many candidates could match what the billionaire Scott is spending. McCollum was a Navy JAG Officer, a man of integrity. While in the U.S. House of Rep, he voted “yes” to impeach Bill Clinton for his mis-deeds. Clinton vowed he would get the yes Representatives out of office. McCollum stood strong and voted the way I would have voted if sitting in that seat. He will be a good conservative Governor for Florida.

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  7. Great article Jamie!

    I’d rather vote for a “crocked” greedy business man any day over a slimy lawyer politician. It’s good to see people see through all these lies and distractions thrown out by the McCollum camp. Ya’ll keep complaining about the 28 million Scott supposedly stole from Medicare if you hadn’t noticed no one believes it or cares (as show by the polling data). Why would people believe what a seasoned career politician says anyway? They DON’T.

    Conservatives are tired of Republican politicians pissing down our backs and telling us it’s raining. (Stolen from the Outlaw Josey Wells but it fits!) I think this election will shake things up a bit for the Republican establishment; I hope and pray it does before our America is lost.

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  8. Great article Jamie!

    I’d rather vote for a “crocked” greedy business man any day over a slimy lawyer politician. It’s good to see people see through all these lies and distractions thrown out by the McCollum camp. Ya’ll keep complaining about the 28 million Scott supposedly stole from Medicare if you hadn’t noticed no one believes it or cares (as show by the polling data). Why would people believe what a seasoned career politician says anyway? They DON’T.

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  9. Have to post this in two parts due to some glitch.

    Conservatives are tired of Republican politicians pissing down our backs and telling us it’s raining. (Stolen from the Outlaw Josey Wells but it fits!) I think this election will shake things up a bit for the Republican establishment; I hope and pray it does before our America is lost.

    Like

  10. Conservatives are tired of Republican politicians pissing down our backs and telling us it’s raining. (Stolen from the Outlaw Josey Wells but it fits!) I think this election will shake things up a bit for the Republican establishment; I hope and pray it does before our America is lost.

    Like

  11. Conservatives are tired of Republican politicians peeing down our backs and telling us it’s raining. (Stolen from the Outlaw Josey Wells but it fits!) I think this election will shake things up a bit for the Republican establishment; I hope and pray it does before our America is lost.

    Like

  12. It is utterly amazing to me that conservatives have been taken in by Scott’s advertising, but then I know his record with Columbia and frankly any CEO that didn’t know what was going on in his company, as he claims, certainly is NOT the person I want running the state of Florida! But then I have a little birdie in Nashville that tells me Scott is a liar AND a cheat.

    And Chris, From the slant of your writings I am debating with myself whether I want to read any more of your negative opinion about Bill McCollum. I think you had better read the endorsement of Bill McCollum by the Tampa Tribune since you can’t seem to resist slamming him at every turn.

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  13. Uh, Claudia, this column was written by Jamie Miller not me.
    That said, I think Bill McCollum is a career politician who hasn’t had a new idea in 20 years and I plan to vote for Rick Scott.

    Chris Ingram

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  14. Maybe you should stay objective Chris…makes your blog look even more biased by saying you are voting for Rick Scott. Careers are built through a knowledge and experience of the person who holds the job and the good job they do. McCollum has all that. Bill McCollum is the best person to hold the political position of Governor because of his knowledge and experience with the job he is applying for. Scott’s experience leads us to believe he is dishonest and has made his money through scamming the medicare system. Comparing job resumes, Bill McCollum is much more suited for the job and that is why he is endorsed by Steve Forbes, Governor Jeb Bush, The Florida Chamber of Commerce, The Tampa Tribune, The Miami Herald and numerous others vs. a big fat zero endorsement for Rick Scott. With those endorsements Chris, your endorsement is TOTALLY nonconsequential.
    Check out Newmax:
    http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/mccollum-endorsements-tribune-herald-scott-columbiahca-fraud/2010/08/02/id/366374

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  15. The Tampa Tribune Editorial Board pointed out: “The federal government found Scott’s healthcare company systematically defrauded taxpayers.

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  16. Among other schemes, it billed for lab tests that were not needed, added diagnosis codes to patients’ records to increase hospital reimbursements and even claimed marketing and advertising costs as community education so it could be reimbursed by taxpayers.

    “The fraud led to Columbia/HCA paying a record-setting $1.7 billion in fines.
    “Scott, who left the company in 1997 as the investigation became public, artfully says he accepts responsibility but denies knowing about the offenses.”

    But Scott “can’t have it both ways,” according to the Tribune. “If he was not involved in the scam, he was clueless, which does not suggest he will tend to the details of managing the state.”

    The Herald cited “persistent questions” about Scott’s role at Columbia/HCA in the 1990s, and stated: “Mr. Scott maintains that he knew nothing about the company’s widespread fraudulent practices. This begs voters’ credulity.

    “Fortunately for Republicans, they have an abler alternative in Mr. McCollum, whose public service record is an open book.”

    The Tribune also said McCollum, Florida’s attorney general, “has, by far, the superior background and character for the job.”

    So far, Scott has spent approximately $30 million of his own money to influence the election, but leading conservatives and grassroots groups are sticking with McCollum.

    McCollum has won the endorsement of former Fla. governor Jeb Bush, Tea Party favorite Dick Armey, Steve Forbes, Dick Morris, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, among others. John Stemberger, who heads the largest pro-family group in Florida, has also backed McCollum.

    The GOP primary will be held on Aug. 24.

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  17. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THAT NO TAXPAYERS MONEY IS GIVEN FOR CAMPAIGNING PERIOD… aLL CAMPAIGN MONEY SHOULD COME FROM DONAATIONS AND THERE SHOULD BE A CAP ON HOW MUCH THEY MAY TOTALY ACCEPT.

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  18. Reply to Sandy:

    Take your blinders off my dear, Jeb, the FOP, Firefighters, etc, all like McCollum because he can be bought and sold to the highest bidder. Scott has all these clowns who have contributed to the wrecking of our state’s and nation’s political system on the run.

    And my dear sweet Sandy, if I am so inconsequential, why do you keep posting here?

    Me thinks I have hit a nerve…

    Good day!

    Chris Ingram

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  19. Wow, Sandy G. has a lot of admirable spunk, so let’s keep things in perspective so we don’t lose that kind of passion as we go into the fall. Most GOPers I talk to agree that McCollum is not a bad guy, and neither is Rick Scott. McCollum has been a dutiful, right-of-center public servant since the first Indiana Jones movie. In an average year, McCollum would be a shoo-in. But this ain’t no average year and Rick Scott is simply taking advantage of the voters demand for outsiders over establishment politicians. And Rick Scott is no criminal. He ran a huge corporation that dealt with an even bigger federal bureaucracy and they screwed up on billing. Can anyone honestly say that they can’t see how blling and insurance mistakes can’t be made when dealing with the federal government? And it just so happens that the Clinton Justice Department suddenly found this over-billing mistake after 10 years and decided to make it an issue after Mr. Scott came out against Hillary’s Health Care take over. But mistakes were made, fines were levied, and Scott had to step down. Done and done. What counts now is who is running a better campaign for Governor. Jamie Miller did an excellent job of pointing out the obvious flaws in McCollum’s campaign and those deficiencies are reflected in the polling and will probably be even more poignant come August 24th. There will be plenty of time after the primary for a post-mortem of the ill-fated McCollum campaign. I hope for the sake of the people of Florida that there will be time for healing, so passionate Americans like the Sandy G.’s of the world can see there way clear to making sure that the handsome, closet-leftist Alex Sink is not our next Governor.

    Johnny Highroad

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  20. Anonymous please…you will have a hard time explaining the 10 year discrepancy and the Clinton Justice Department and over billing mistakes and blah, blah, blah between September and the first of November. Sink wins.
    My reply to Chris:
    My dear Chris: Scott seems to be the highest bidder with the $30 million spent to date on his campaign. And know this my dear Chris, Scott made his money off the Federal system…with, I guess according to Anonymous, over-billing mistakes, and not the private sector with big ideas on how to create jobs. And my darling sweet Chris, HIT A NERVE, you had me at HELLO with this article so of course I wrote my opinions. Now, you are the one writing to me on my personal email and posting on your own blog to patronize me so I guess we hit mutual nerve endings…being on opposite ends of the spectrum with this campaign. After all, I am probably just as inconsequential as you and the rest writing on your blog in the realm of things. It just feels good for me to stand up for a good man that has had millions spent to defame him by a man that seems to have taken hundreds of millions of dollars from the Federal system and not much of a reputation for doing anything else positive.

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  21. It seems everyone has had a fun time with the article.

    To those who liked the article, thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Sandy – I’m not sure what you think was biased about the article? The part where the GOP establishment tried to clear the field for McCollum? Or, the part where I point out that even the three-judge panel suggests that McCollum had a flawed strategy from the beginning? I think your confusing bias with realities.

    Chris – Thank you for giving everyone here a forum to share their thoughts and views in an irreverent manner.

    Anonymous – I agree with you that a good bit of what people describe as “fraud” will be “asked and answered” in the general election. In other words, if Scott is the nominee, he will go through one more series of vetting, like every general election candidate does, and people will realize that Rick Scott did not break the law, didn’t commit fraud, and is qualified to serve as governor.

    McCollum needs a game-changer in this race. The one debate this week didn’t provide it. His last hope is to pull out all the stops at Thursday’s debate and hope that Scott has a “Bill McBride” moment. If Scott keeps his cool, from a strategic standpoint, it looks like Rick Scott will be the GOP nominee for governor.

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  22. Jamie: I didn’t call your article biased…I said Chris appears biased because he admitted that he plans to vote for Scott. Free country and thankful to live in a country where one can vote how he chooses. I just think that political analyst Chris may want to fan the fire, but stay out of the middle of it. That way he won’t come off as a political hack for one particular person or a propaganda tool for a campaign. Merely said my dear Chris as a suggestion so that more people find your blog reputable and a place to go for both sides of the story, irreverent though they may be : )

    Like

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