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“Florida Man buys state” — American Bridge PAC says Americans for Prosperity PAC buys Florida

in 2017/Top Headlines by

The liberal American Bridge super PAC has released a voluminous new report contending that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Florida Gov. Rick Scott have become “puppets” of the rival conservative Americans For Prosperity super PAC.

American Bridge’s 144-page report, entitled “Florida Man Buys State: Koch Impacts In the Sunshine State,” was released Friday to coincide with Americans for Prosperity’s annual Defending The American Dream Summit in Orlando this weekend. Rubio will be a keynote speaker Friday.

The report seeks to tie long relationships, campaign funding, secret meetings, and government records of Rubio and Scott with billionaire AFP PAC founders and Republican supporters Charles and David Koch and their agenda for conservative economics and oil, gas, coal, and mining production.

American Bridge is heavily funded by billionaire Democratic supporter George Soros.

AFP has not commented on the report.

The report suggests Rubio’s and Scott’s allegiances to the Kochs may rival their loyalties to the Republican National Committee.

“Marco Rubio avoided Trump’s Republican Convention like the plague, but he is beyond eager to meet with the out-of-state oil billionaire Koch brothers at the Americans for Prosperity summit this weekend,” American Bridge Vice President Eddie Vale stated in a news release issued by the organization. “The Kochs have bought their way into Rubio’s orbit with more than $5.4 million from their network and in turn, Rubio follows their lead on policies that hurt Florida but benefit the Kochs’ bottom line. Rubio consistently puts his big donors and self-serving political interests, like strongly supporting Donald Trump, ahead of what’s best for Floridians.”

The report not only tries to tie Rubio and Scott to the Kochs, but it also notes how expansive AFP has become in Florida. AFP officials pointed out that Florida network as a point of pride Friday morning during the opening events of the summit. For American Bridge, it’s a matter of concern.

The report also notes the Koch brothers business and personal interests in Florida, including David Koch’s home in Palm Beach County, and their investments and controls in Georgia-Pacific, Molex and other companies.

“To fully furnish their policy agenda in the Sunshine State, the Kochs have backed their puppet candidates with an extensive organization of their astroturf advocacy organizations. Americans for Prosperity along with Concerned Veterans for America, Generation Opportunity and LIBRE have a combined 16 Florida field offices and 165 field staffers,” the American Bridge report states. “Their presence in Florida is so large that it rivals the state’s Republican Party. Though this network alone is baffling, the Koch’s Florida policy agenda has also been lent additional support from the Koch’s senior front group, the 60 Plus Association, and the Koch-funded James Madison Institute.”

The report also predicts that AFP will work hard for Rubio’s re-election. Again, AFP officials said the same thing Friday morning, as a point of pride.

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Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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