As Florida legislators sit on their hands with a fundraising ban for session, Gov. Rick Scott has been holding fundraisers and collecting cash -- $1 million of it -- for his political committee, Let's Get to Work.
Admittedly half of it came in the form of a whopping check of $500,000 check from the St. Petersburg-based William L. Edwards Trust, with other large donations coming from health care, sugar, insurance, utilities, his appointees to boards and even other political committees.
Two of the biggest checks -- from the Treasure Island entertainment and finance mogul Bill Edwards and Gary Chartrand, the governor's appointee to the Florida Board of Education -- came on March 26. That was the same day the governor launched his new web ad at his new campaign-like web site, ItsWorkingFlorida.com. The checks also came one day after the governor told the Tampa Bay Times editorial board that he couldn't support the $5,000 cap on campaign donations to statewide candidates (and $3,000 for everyone else) in the House campaign finance bill because it was too high.
(Coincidentally, an amendment by Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, to the House campaign finance bill would have prohibited the governor from soliciting or accepting campaign money during the legislative session, as legislators are required to do. It was voted down by Republicans 71-43 last week on the floor.)
Nevertheless, Scott's campaign committee continues to accept checks of unlimited amounts. Since session began, Scott has held at least one fundraiser -- on March 12 outside of Tallahassee in Havana. According to his political committee web site, he collected $116,000 in checks that day and about $90,000 in the two days after it.
The largest contributions this month include:
* $500,000 from William L. Edwards Trust
* $237,500 from Blue Cross, Blue Shield Florida
* $100,000 from Heritage P & C Insurance Co.
* $100,000 from U.S. Sugar
* $50,000 from the Florida Chamber's Partnership for Florida's Future
* $50,000 from the Chamber of Commerce Alliance
* $50,000 from United Automobile Insurance Co.
* $50,000 from Florida Power & Light
* $50,000 from Dex Imaging Inc.
* $50,000 from Gary R. Chartrand Trust