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Rick Scott's robo-calls backfiring (and spoofing, too?)

As we first tweeted this morning, the Republican Party of Florida is robo-calling voters to drum up support for Gov. Rick Scott, who might be America's most-disliked governor, with a 29 percent approval rating. Now that a full day of calls are in, it appears that's just making some fellow Republicans upset.

The automatic, pre-recorded calls feature Scott's voice derided the hometown projects he vetoed from the budgets as "special interest waste." Not the kind of message that fellow Republicans, who crafted the budget, wanted to hear. Especially when those special interests included hungry and needy seniors, homeless veterans, paralysis victims, etc.

 Former Republican State Rep. J.C. Planas of Miami said he was called and was infuriated that needy projects were being described as waste. What's more, he said, the incoming number on his cell phone caller ID showed that it was his own number phoning in -- a process of disguising calls known as "spoofing."

"It's bad enough that he's hurting my community with these vetoes and misrepresenting the purpose of them," Planas said. "But then he's spoofing my phone? Why?"

No one in the Capitol can remember the last time a governor had to resort to robo-calling to drum up support. He also is urging supporters on Twitter and Facebook to support his vetoes (which kind of add up to $615 million) and call on legislators to plug some of the freed-up money back into education.

But Scott never mentions that he called for a bigger cut to education than the Legislature was comfortable with. Now he's flip-flopping on members of his own party and playing the blame game.

House Speaker Dean Cannon was irked that the calls suggested the Republican controlled Legislature skimped on education -- when it was Scott himself who called for a deeper cut. House Republican leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera of Miami was doubly bothered.

"The Republican Party of Florida is paying for this?" Lopez-Cantera asked. "That's interesting. I'm on the Republican Executive Committee and I'm Miami-Dade's state committeeman and no one gave me so much as a courtesy call that they were going to be doing this."

Lopez-Cantera was among the Republican representatives who wanted about $730,000 to feed needy seniors in Allapattah and Little Havana. Both line items were vetoed.

"This wasn't money for special interests," said Lopez-Cantera. "These are needy seniors."

There was some irony in Scott's strident stance against special interests when he announced the budget vetoes. Before his speech, he was preceded by representatives of some heavy-hitting special interests: a representative of The Villages development, Florida Chamber of Commerce lobbyist David Hart and National Federation of Independent Business lobbyist Allen Douglas.

Not every interest was represented at the event. Scott's office and RPOF staffers used sheriff's deputies to block Democrats from the event Thursday. The next day, Scott's office denied it had a role.

Maybe a new robo-call is in order to set the record straight there, too.


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Up until he spent $73 million to take over the Governor's Mansion---this guy did ZERO for the Republican Party of Floria...or for any Republican candidates in Florida for that matter. At a time when the Republican Party in Florida should be its strongest---it is falling apart because we have leaders who are only concerned with their personal agenda. One and done..say it early...say it often.

Jan B.

I am a strong supporter of our Governor Scott. However, can they do a worse job of managing the public relations on not only this but almost every single issue?

Pauly D.

I miss McCollum...

judy mccracken

Jan B..Let me be the first to hope and wish that you and your family be among the first to experience the results of this governors thoughtless agenda. Whether it be a job, education, nursing hm facilities, higher insurance rates, whatever, hopefully you will participate in the fallout of all the splendor he is spreading thru Florida.....

j mccracken

What would anybody who voted for this guy expect? He was fined 1.7 BILLION DOLLARS for fraud against the Medicare system. Stealing from taxpayers he is now supposed to represent. Hows that working out for everybody? I guess the Villages are ok with that, but they are the only ones..... We are the laughing stock of the country and have 3 more years of his strong arm, dont bring your protest signs to my party, government. 29% & falling fast.....

Private Citizen

Robocalls should not be considered a 'free speech' right. My home and my phone are private. I have the right to limit communication through my private phone line.
Do I have the right to go to a candidates home, ring the doorbell repeatedly, multiple times a day, over several weeks until they answer, then step inside to make a political campaign statement? No. I would be arrested for trespassing and harassment.
Politicians have abused autodialing technology and robocall laws. Random and sequential dialing is outlawed in most state and federal laws restricting autodialer equipment. This law exists to avoid dialing lines dedicated for emergency use by hospitals, businesses and individuals. Robocallers make multiple calls until the recipient answers, and worse, many robocalls will call you back until you have allowed the entire message to play. Robocallers may call every voter listed at your residence, so you will receive multiple calls on one phone line. Robocallers also hide or change caller ID info so you cannot trace the call. Many robocallers do not identify the entity sponsoring the call or give a call back number for the campaign as required by commercial robocall laws. I have received robocalls for candidates outside my local and federal jurisdiction. This is particularly annoying because the political PR firm that places the calls obviously has my phone number registered to another district. They refused to correct this mistake. I even called the candidates to let them know I am not in their district and asked them to place me on a do not call list. The calls kept coming. Finally, political robocalls are abusing the telephone privilege by sending nasty, misleading attacks about their opponents. These politicians are not the people I want in political office. I do not want their negative information in my home.




Well, Ms. Jan, I wonder how supportive you will be when this comes home to roost. When someone you love needs services. Or when someone you love loses their job. So far your boy has cut several thousand jobs and created not even one. You are as delusional as his mother.


Trey Stapleton - Republican in Charge of Robo Phone Calls is an idiot.


As someone who's lived in Florida for 31 years, I can tell you, without a doubt, that Rick Scott is the worst governer we
ve had since I've been here. How this man can push all these laws down our throats, and then say with a straight face that he believes in limited government, is beyond me. How is it "limited government" when the state is interfering with the doctor-patient relationship? How is it "limited government" when the government is actively trying to make it more difficult to vote?

I knew this guy was bad news when he first started running for office. Anyone with even the most rudimentary political awareness should have known better than to vote for this guy. He's running this state to the ground. And the politicians who side with him are no better.

It's so sad to see people like Scott (who has only lived in Florida for seven years, by the way) ruin a state that I love and deeply care about.

Bob Collier

I recently received a robo call re: a 30% tax break on our property taxes. Had something to do with cuts in the water district charges. Unfortunately I was not paying as close attention to the details and hung up before the end of the message. Called the Broward County Tax Office and no one knew anything about such a cut. Has anyone out there information re: that call??

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