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FL Democratic Party's 1st 2014 ad buy has old theme: Rick Scott and Medicare fraud


The Florida Democratic Party's first TV spot of the 2014 governor's race airs this week and attacks Gov. Rick Scott over an old weakness: Medicare fraud.

"Maybe you’ve heard about what was the largest Medicare fraud in history, committed when Rick Scott was a CEO," says the ad. "Or that Scott’s company paid record fraud fines of one-point-seven billion dollars."

If you haven't heard, then your memory is bad or you didn't turn on a Florida TV set during the height of the 2010 elections, when Scott's Republican rival and then his Democratic opponent ensured that voters knew about the 1997 fine paid by Columbia/HCA, a hospital company Scott built.

The Scott campaign and the state GOP is focusing on the more-recent past: the hundreds of thousands of Florida jobs created while Scott was in office compared with the hundreds of thousands of jobs lost between 2007 and 2011 under former Gov. Charlie Crist, the Democratic frontrunner in the race.

The Democrats' ad, announced during the week the statewide candidates qualify for office, serves as another campaign milestone as well as an indication of the extreme negativity in store for Floridians through November.

The Republican Party of Florida responded by calling out Crist for receiving financial support from convicted Ponzi scheme Scott Rothstein and for appointing Jim Greer, convicted in an unrelated fraud scheme, to head the state GOP when Crist was still a Republican.

“If Charlie Crist wants to talk about trust and ethics, just ask him about his felon friends who said Crist had direct knowledge of their illegal and unethical behavior," said Susan Hepworth, RPOF's communications director. "Or, you can ask the voters that he lied to for many as a Republican, or the Democrats he now claims to be telling the truth to.”

Scott has now spent more than $13 million on TV already, about half dedicated to bashing Crist, who can't afford to respond yet.

The Democrats' ad buy isn't immediately clear. It's supposed to be "six figures," one Democrat says. It has to be that. At least. A statewide ad buy usually has to be $1 million a week to take effect. Democrats say they'll ramp up to spend more in the coming weeks.

This spot is set to air in the three media markets where Scott has spent the most: Tampa Bay, Orlando and West Palm Beach.

The Miami-Fort Lauderdale media market is too expensive and too Democratic for Democrats to advertise here now. But the fact that they're going up in Tampa Bay, Crist's home base, indicates that Scott's spending has paid off and they need to try to keep the incumbent polling below 45 percent.

Ever since Scott took office in 2011, his poll numbers have been poor and tenuous for an incumbent presiding over an improving economy. It’s partly a legacy of the Medicare-fraud story that Scott’s opponents burned into the mind of the electorate.

In 2010, Scott got fewer votes than the five other statewide office holders -- all Republicans -- including Sen. Marco Rubio, who fought a de facto three-way race with Crist (then a struggling independent) and Democratic Miami Congressman Kendrick Meek.

The Democrats’ commercial is named "Answers" -- a reminder of how few of them are directly given by Scott.

The ad makes sure to mention how Scott pleaded his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination amid the federal investigation of Columbia/HCA. The Democrats' ad highlights that as well.

In the commercial, the video footage of a young Scott testifying comes from yet another deposition in another lawsuit, involving Central Florida hospitals.


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ed jenkins

Democrat primary voters including this one are again disgusted with this waste of party money to inform the citizens that there are disputes between governments and companies over various matters when they do business together, something that the citizens already know. The citizens want their government to only engage in the areas it was intended to of law enforcement and courts, schools and transportation infrastructure so that there will be fewer of these government and business conflicts.

Dave Hamel

We will see (if our eyes are open) that Scott, whether you like him or not has been doing a great job for our state. For one to turn a deficit into a surplus is something very few do now days that this country needs more of. A businessman more than a politician is who I want leading my state. Forget the party.

ed jenkins

This wise Dave Hamel speaks for the citizens of florida who initially doubted this scott as a political novice but have been won over by his exemplary fiscal stewardship considering the mess he was left with by the scumbag crist.

Christopher M. Kennard

I gather that only paid Republican operatives working directly on behalf of Scott are responding to this story of how Scott's claim to fame, his tenure as CEO for the largest HMO health services then existing within the USA was caught cheating and stealing Medicare funds from taxpayers.

Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Hamel . . . if those are your real names . . . I trust that Scott pays you well for this short term employment stint because come our November 4th elections, we will all be waving Scott goodbye and good riddance to him and his corrupt cabel of dishonest Republicans who are continuing the Florida Republican Party's horrendous track record of lies, deceit and wholesale havoc to the State of Florida and our citizens.

And what a record . . . election district lines illegally drawn to favor incumbent Republicans and their dishonest Democratic friends of like ilk, Corrine Brown; cheating kids of their public education and destroying Florida's public school system in the process; creating the setting for ever more ecological damage beyond despair; denying people who need medical care from receiving assistance; stealing by proxy Florida taxpayer's hard earned money . . . we can accurately go on and on here, couldn't we . . . .


Christopher, go back to being a community organizer and smoking more weed! That will make voting for Charlie more palatable.

Can't take anymore

If not for several very slick defense attorneys and the abuse of the 5th Amendment, Mr. Scott would be wearing an orange jumpsuit and living in a federal corrections facility until sometime around 2025. Perhaps this year the voters won't be so distracted by the loud screams of the Tea Baggers that they can actually take a look at this man before they decide who to vote for.

Indie Thinker

Dave Hamel falls for Scott's deficit/surplus lie? I guess he hasn't heard there is no such thing with a balanced budget.

Bill Thompson

The scumbag Scott demonstrated his "exemplary fiscal stewardship" by signing a record high spending budget filled with GOP pork projects and issuing more debt instead of vetoing it and paying down the state's debt.

Bill Thompson

It is clear that the GOP is nervous about the failing campaign of the scumbag Scott, because they release their attack dogs immediately, especially when the issue of medicare fraud comes up, because they want to pretend that it never happened and wish that they could delete this horrible man's evasive depositions where he refused to answer any questions because he might incriminate himself. Since the scumbag Scott said he is a great believer in transparency, he should step forward and clear the air instead of hiding in the executive mansion, in his executive jet and in his secretive meetings with gambling billionaires from las vegas who want to buy their way into Florida with their sleazy, immoral businesses.

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