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Just as McCollum gets ethics ok to lobby gov, he endorses Rick Scott

Call this a convenient coincidence. On the same day that Attorney General Bill McCollum received Ethics Commission approval to lobby the next governor's staff when he leaves office in January, he broke his silence and endorsed his former Republican rival Rick Scott in the race for governor.

McCollum, who lost to Scott in the primary, said in a statement posted on his web site today that he was supporting Scott because "our state needs conservative leaders who will grow our economy and create jobs.''

"We need merit pay and an end to teacher tenure in our public schools, major litigation reform, smaller government, low taxes and a repeal of Obamacare,'' the statement continues. "With this in mind, I will cast my vote for Rick Scott for Governor. It’s the better choice for Florida.”

Since the Aug. 24 primary, McCollum had until now refused to endorse his primary rival for governor. He had, however, asked if he could lobby the next governor, seeking an advisory opinion from the Florida Commission on Ethics.

The opinion, as reported by the News Service of Florida, said that McCollum will be barred from lobbying his own office, the Cabinet and the State Board of Administration, as well as programs created within the department such as the Florida Commission on the Status of Women, the Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, the Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board and the Florida Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Authority.

But it didn't rule out lobbying the staff of the next governor. “As you are not a member of the Governor’s Office, or any of the agencies headed by the Chief Financial Officer or the Agriculture Commissioner, you could not be precluded from making representations before the staff of those agencies, other than Cabinet aides,” the opinion said.

McCollum will be out of a job in January and if he turns to lobbying, it won't be the first time. After serving in Congress for 20 years, McCollum worked as a lobbyist with the Baker and Hostetler law firm in Washington, D.C.