TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – The near constant war between Democrats and Republicans continues in Florida with the Florida Democratic Party accusing Governor Rick Scott’s campaign of breaking campaign finance laws by shifting millions of dollars between groups.
Allison Tant, who is the chairwoman of the state party, filed the complaint with the Florida Elections Commission late last week, naming both Scott and his political committee Let’s Get to Work.
The complaint maintains that the campaign broke the law when the Scott campaign transferred nearly $27.4 million from one type of campaign account to another earlier this month.
“They have violated the law and the governor is supposed to uphold the law,” Tant told The Associated Press.
Republican Party of Florida chairman Lenny Curry defended Scott’s campaign organization.
“Let’s Get to Work is confident that they have done everything according to the standards of Florida election law,” Curry said in a statement.
The Let’s Get To Work campaign was first set up in 2010 to help Scott’s gubernatorial campaign. It was originally set up as an “electioneering communication organization” which can accept unlimited contributions, but is limited by how much it can spend.
For example, the political organizations can run media ads as long as they don’t use the words “vote for” or “vote against.”
Scott kept the campaign together and has raised millions for the group from heavyweight donors including the Seminole Tribe, Florida Power & Light, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, and the Republican Governor’s Association.
But, on March 6, the chairman of “Let’s Get To Work” said the organization was being disbanded as an electioneering organization and on the same day, a new PAC with the same name formed.
The new PAC was given $27.4 million by the disbanding organization.
Under Florida law, political committees have more flexibility in spending. A committee can give money directly to political parties, while an electioneering organization can’t.
Democrats say state law prohibits an electioneering organization from donating directly to a political committee. Scott’s people say the action was legal because the electioneering organization dissolved and was getting rid of its money.
“This is unlawful and he needs to be called out on it,” Tant said. “We think we have the law is on our side.”
If the governor’s campaign were found to have violated the law, it could be subject to a fine up to three times the amount of the contribution, or about $82 million.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)