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When Bill McCollum needs help, shadow attack groups respond

A group called Alliance for America's Future has a placed a broadcast TV buy across Florida starting tomorrow and running at least until June 2. The buy could near $1 million. The buyer placing the ads happens to be Bill McCollum's buyer as well, but the campaign declined to comment on what it knew about the ad, called "Fraud."

"We're not surprised,'' McCollum campaign spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said. "Any number of groups and idividuals are gravely concerned about Rick Scott and the impact he would have in Florida.

One name we heard was connected to the group: Robert Coker, a U.S. Sugar Vice President. He didn't deny involvement.

“I don’t know what the mechanics are,” he said. “You’re going to have to ask someone farther up the food chain….I’ll tell you up front, we know Bill McCollum and have huge amounts of respect for him. And when he needs help, we will help him.”

Does McCollum need help?

“Anyone running for office does,” Coker said.

The same Virginia-based group has been the subject of controversy in Nevada over ads it is airing in that governor's race. In Florida, there is no prohibition against the committee coordinating with the state campaign, and unless Gov. Charlie Crist signs a sweeping and controversial elections bill (HB 131), there are no state disclosure requirements for such groups.