Drug dispensers Automated Healthcare and prison privatizers The GEO Group pony up to Senate leader’s committee

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THE NEWS: A political committee linked to Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner and other GOP leaders has collected $65,000 since Oct. 12, with much of the money coming from The Geo Group, a prison contractor, and Automated HealthCare Solutions, a company at the center of a debate about doctors dispensing drugs to workers-compensation insurance patients. The committee, known as Protect Our Liberty, posted the campaign-finance information on its website.

 The Geo Group and Automated HealthCare Solutions each contributed $25,000 recently, while an ophthalmologists’ committee gave $10,000.

Protect Our Liberty, meanwhile, reported funneling $100,000 this week to Senate Majority, a party effort to elect Republican Senate candidates.

Oct 12 was the end of the state’s most-recent reporting period, but committees linked to legislators are required to update campaign-finance information on their websites more often.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Automated Healthcare’s and The Geo Group’s continued, um, investment in the Senate’s incoming leadership is yet another indication that their issues will be in play during the 2013-14 legislative sessions.

Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.