When Manatee County developer Carlos Beruff announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate in late February, he labeled himself an outsider that was determined to shake up Washington.
But it took just 25 hours and 6 minutes after that announcement for Beruff’s campaign to benefit from one of the most insider moves in federal politics these days. Federal Election Commission records show that on March 1, allies of Beruff created Lets Clean Up Washington, a so-called super PAC that will support Beruff’s bid for the U.S. Senate.
Like most super PACs, the committee cannot coordinate with Beruff’s campaign, but can raise unlimited donations from corporations and individuals and spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for him or against his opponents. Nationally, more than 2,200 super PACs have been created to support presidential campaigns and races for Congress.
Though Lets Clean Up Washington has been up and running since March 1, campaign finance reports filed this week shows no money was raised or spent by the PAC.
Chris Hartline, a spokesman for Beruff, said he could not comment on the PAC saying it is not directly affiliated with the campaign.
Four of the five leading Republican candidates in the Senate race now have super PACs supporting them. Fighting for Florida Fund is aiding U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach. FloridAmerican Conservatives is backing U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores. And Reform Washington is support Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. There is no super PAC supporting Tampa businessman Todd Wilcox so far.
Beruff, 58, has never held elective office before but has been on several government appointed boards and commissions since 2009. Since then he’s was appointed by then Gov. Charlie Crist to the to Sarasota-Bradenton Airport Authority, the Southwest Florida Water Management board and the State College of Florida board of trustees. Gov. Rick Scott re-appointed Beruff to all three and picked him to lead a hospital commission last year that was charged with looking into pricing and other issues related to hospital care.