Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign last week provided a political corollary to Honoré de Balzac’s saying that “behind every great fortune there is a crime.”
Behind every great donor there is a potential crime.
It’s especially true in scammer-rich Florida.
Had Scott’s campaign-finance team realized this, someone might vetted (or Googled) James Batmasian. He pleaded guilty in 2008 to failing to collect and pay $253,000 in federal withholding taxes regarding his Boca Raton investment company’s employees. Batmasian spent eight months in prison, paid a $30,000 fine and had his law license suspended in Florida.
Perfect guy to headline a $10,000-per-donor fundraiser, right?
The Florida Democratic Party thought so.
“Birds of a feather . . . Rick Scott to fundraise with ex-felon tax cheat,” Joshua Karp, the Democrats’ spokesman wrote in a Thursday morning email blast that conflated Batmasian’s past — as first reported by Mother Jones online — and the 1997 record $1.7 billion Medicare-fraud fine paid by Scott’s former hospital company.
Behind each opponent’s misstep is an opportunity.
Scott quickly pulled the plug on the fundraiser and sought to focus attention on Democratic opponent Charlie Crist’s record as governor, when unemployment and budget shortfalls reached record highs.
“This event has been canceled,” Scott’s campaign spokesman, Greg Blair, said in an email. “All the name calling and mudslinging in the world can’t hide Charlie Crist’s record of failure or the fact that he is too scared to debate his primary opponent.”
Karp got in a final email dig regarding Scott’s cancellation: “If you ask him why, he’ll probably just plead the Fifth.”
Indeed, this Scott’s fourth fundraising woe, and the governor won’t directly answer questions about any of them: