The Republican Party of Florida attacked former Gov. Charlie Crist in a TV ad alleging that he let Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein pick judicial appointments in exchange for campaign donations.
Crist’s campaign fired back with its ownad Aug. 18 that included a slew of attacks on Scott, including this one:
"Now he’s teamed up with a felon convicted of running a Ponzi scheme to smear Charlie Crist with false attacks."
The text on the screen states "Rothstein gets 50 years in $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme."
Crist’s ad shows a photo of a grinning Rothstein wearing luxury watches and attributes that to an ABC News story from June 2010 when Rothstein was convicted. The Republicans’ ad about Rothstein used the same image.
While the photo of Rothstein remains on the screen, the text of the ad says: "Scott Rothstein bought expensive things" and then the text on the screen says "FALSE ATTACKS." (The small print refers to a Sun-Sentinel article about an auction of Rothstein's possessions.)
That’s a whole lot of Rothstein mash-up going on for viewers.
For nearly five years, media reports have outlined how Rothstein donated generously to a long list of politicians including Crist. But this was the first we had heard of an allegation about Scott teaming up with Rothstein, so we decided to check it out.
In fact, there is no evidence that Scott and Rothstein have literally "teamed up" -- what Crist is referring to is the Republican Party using the Rothstein scandal to attack Crist. The evidence that Crist cited in his ad backup was simply a news report about Rothstein’s conviction.
"Ponzi schemer's words + Rick Scott's money = teaming up," Brendan Gilfillan told PolitiFact Florida in an email. Turn to PolitiFact Florida to see how we rated this ad.