Fla. Dems file complaint alleging Gov. Rick Scott campaign broke fundraising law

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The head of the Florida Democratic Party contends that the campaign of Gov. Rick Scott is breaking the state’s campaign finance law.

Allison Tant on Monday filed a complaint against both Gov. Rick Scott and his political committee Let’s Get to Work.

The complaint maintains that the campaign broke the law when the Scott campaign transferred $27 million from one type of campaignaccount to another earlier this month.

If the governor’s campaign were found to have violated the law, it could be subject to a fine worth as much as $82.1 million or three times the amount of the contribution.

John French, the chairman of Let’s Get to Work, said last week the movement of the money was legal.

Scott first set up Let’s Get to Work back in 2010 as a way to help out his campaign for governor when he was challenging a Republican who had the backing of many GOP leaders.

It was set up as an “electioneering communication organization,” which is allowed to take unlimited contributions but is subject to limits on how it can spend the money. These types of political organizations can run television ads as long as they don’t use the words “vote for” or “vote against.”

Scott kept Let’s Get to Work intact after his victorious election in 2010, and since the summer of 2011 he has raised millions for the organization. The governor has accepted checks from a long list of prominent business and political heavyweights, including The Seminole Tribe of Florida, Florida Power & Light, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, and the Republican Governors Association.

On March 6, French turned in paperwork stating that Let’s Get to Work was being disbanded as an electioneering communication organization. On the same day, a new political committee with the same name was formed, and the old organization gave a nearly $27.4 million check to the new one.

Under a new law passed last year by legislators, political committees have more flexibility over how they can spend money. For example, a committee can give money directly to political parties, while an electioneering communication organization cannot. This means that the new Let’s Get to Work has more leeway on how it can spend its money.

French has maintained that his action was legal because the first organization was being dissolved and was disposing of its money.

Tant disagrees.

“This is unlawful and he needs to be called out on it,” Tant said. “We think we have the law is on our side.”

If the governor’s campaign were found to have violated the law, it could be subject to a fine up to three times the amount of the contribution, or about $82 million.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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