From The Miami Herald:
TALLAHASSEE –A federal appeals court in Atlanta turned Florida’s public campaign financing law on its head Friday, halting a critical provision that was expected to inject taxpayer cash into Attorney General Bill McCollum’s struggling campaign.
The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will put an immediate stop to the matching money McCollum thought he was entitled to when his Republican rival Rick Scott, a multimillionaire who is financing his own campaign, exceeds the state’s $24.9 million spending cap. Scott has rejected the spending limits under the so-called “millionaire’s provision.”
Original DVD cover
The court’s ruling comes at a time when McCollum is trailing Scott by 11 percentage points in the latest polls and the GOP gubernatorial primary is only weeks away. The latest finance reports show that McCollum has only $800,000 on hand for the Aug. 24 primary.
The court rejected McCollum’s argument that the subsidy helps fight corruption and the powerful influence of special interests, saying he and the state hadn’t proven their case because the spending cap is “not the least restrictive means of encouraging,” that goal.
Funny how the Rethugs only care about the influence of special interests when they work against themselves.
The court agreed with Scott’s argument that the public subsidy provisions “chills free speech” by imposing a burden on his “right to spend his own funds in support of his own candidacy.”
McCollum’s campaign manager Matt Williams blasted Scott for challenging the law and “trying to change the rules in the middle of an election.”
He said the decision to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court will be up to the Florida Department of State.
Among the legal options for McCollum, however, is to file his own lawsuit attempting to eliminate the $500 cap on individual contributions that hamstrings McCollum but not Scott.
Scott, a former healthcare executive with a net worth of $218 million, has poured at least $23 million of his own money into his campaign, and $8 million of his wife’s money into a political committee he founded called “Let’s Get to Work.”
Meanwhile, McCollum cannot receive large direct contributions under law, so he has relied on political committees he helped found — the Sunshine State Freedom Fund and Florida First Initiative. Along with three other committees founded by his allies, the groups have raised about $3 million since June and directed much of that money toward bashing Scott.
The money is a who’s-who of special interests in the state Capitol: Blue Cross Blue Shield, U.S. Sugar, Auto Nation, the Florida Retail Federation, tobacco companies, doctor groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Unlike a campaign, which is limited to $500 contributions, the committees can raise and spend unlimited sums so long as they don’t expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate on the ballot.
Oh, please, please, please, please let these 2 despicable asswipes destroy each other, and let Alex Sink win!