Governor’s Campaign Says Huge Donation Was A “Mistake”
TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — A missing half-million dollars is being called an “accounting error”, a “mistake”.
The $500,000 mystery was associated with the re-election campaign of Gov. Rick Scott.
That’s how much money Florida Crystals, a leading sugar producer founded by one of the state’s politically prominent families, was reported to have given a political organization set up to help the campaign of the Republican incumbent.
The half-million-dollar check to the organization called Let’s Get to Work was one of the largest the group reported receiving last year.
But state records no longer list the sizable donation.
John French, an attorney and chairman of the group, called the listing of the donation an “accounting error” and a “mistake.”
When pressed for additional information, French said that people who log contributions and wire transfers “mistook some information.” He added that “there was never a $500,000 check” and that state records as well as Let’s Get to Work’s website were corrected once the mistake was discovered.
A spokesman for Florida Crystals also called it an “accounting error.” The privately owned company is run by the Fanjul family.
Florida Crystals has given money to the Scott campaign organization previously, including two checks totaling $150,000 donated in June 2013.
Scott set up Let’s Get to Work during his 2010 run for governor as a way to assist his campaign, but he never shut it down once the election was over. In late 2011 Scott began raising money for the organization.
But earlier this month Scott’s organization closed its accounts and transferred nearly $27.4 million to a new political committee also called Let’s Get to Work.
French said that the decision was made to transfer the money into the new account because a new election law gives political committees more flexibility on how money can be spent. The previous organization had limits on what it could say in television ads and could not transfer money to political parties.
The governor’s race is shaping up to be one of the most expensive in state history.
Scott’s re-election campaign reported Monday that it had collected more than $585,000 in the month of February. This is a campaign account separate from Let’s Get to Work.
A political committee set up by former Gov. Charlie Crist raised more than $817,000 last month, while former state Sen. Nan Rich raised nearly $25,000 for her campaign accounts.
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