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McCollum fundraising letter is misleading, Scott campaign says

Bill McCollum cash-strapped campaign is blasting rival Rick Scott in a fundraising letter that landed in Tallahassee mailboxes.

The first page carries an official-looking letterhead: "Bill McCollum, Attorney General, Florida." The McCollum's campaign disclosure is on a reply card and not the letter. (We can't reproduce it here at the moment because it has a voter's name on it, but here's a look at page 2.)

Scott campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Baker called it misleading. "They are tricking voters into thinking it's an official letter from the Attorney General's Office," she said.

The letter hits hard on the Medicare and Medicaid fraud at Scott's former hospital chain, Columbia/HCA, saying his hands are "filthy."

"Only a lousy manager could be asleep at the wheel while his company systematically defrauded America's taxpayers ...," it reads in part.

"Boy have I got news for Rick Scott. Buried under thousands of pages of testimony, the evidence screams out that Rick Scott's company committed massive fraud. He's lucky he's not in prison. And now with a shameless audacity that would make Bill Clinton blush, he says he wants to bring his business savvy and acumen to Tallahassee. Rick Scott's behavior borders on criminal."

But McCollum's background in this area isn't clean either. As a congressman he pushed legislation that, critics said, would have "gutted" a federal whistleblower act and was designed to halt federal investigations of hospitals — namely Columbia/HCA.

McCollum's fundraising appeal accuses Scott of a "hit job" on his campaign. "While I was serving our country Rick Scott's company was ripping off his countrymen," the letter states, noting McCollum's service in the Navy. (Scott also served in the Navy.)

McCollum also claims Scott is trying to buy the election. But said of himself, "Nobody has ever questioned my integrity."

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