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EMPTY POCKETS: Sen. Rick Scott faces tough questions about GOP Senate campaign finances

EMPTY POCKETS: Sen. Rick Scott faces tough questions about GOP Senate campaign finances

STRANGE STRATEGY: This Senator thinks raising taxes on 99% of Americans will get him reelected

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Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) is in hot water with the Republican Party after reports that money meant for GOP senatorial candidates went mysteriously missing. After pulling ads for Republican candidates in key battleground states due to lack of funds, the GOP wants answers from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), and Scott –  its chairman.

According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosures, the $173 million raised by the NRSC is significantly less than the money spent – leaving the NRSC coffers with less than $30 million left to spend.

But how they burned through that haul so quickly is the primary question.

The Washington Post reported:

“As of that month, the committee disclosed spending just $23 million on ads, with more than $21 million going into text messages and more than $12 million to American Express credit card payments, whose ultimate purpose isn’t clear from the filings,” the report explained. “The committee also spent at least $13 million on consultants, $9 million on debt payments and more than $7.9 million renting mailing lists, campaign finance data show.”

Millions were spent on private plane charters, commemorative memorabilia, and, oddly, at the Waffle House.

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“I don’t have any big answers about the NRSC’s finances, but I can tell you they categorized thousands in expenses to Waffle House as ‘air charter,'” said Pat Dennis, of American Bridge, a Democratic research organization.

“He noted, however, that the category was changed. ‘Only other folks getting money for air charter are Rick Scott himself, and the insurance company AFLAC for some reason,'” Dennis said, according to RawStory.

“‘They spent $6k on commemorative cups, $6k on commemorative figurines, 2400 on engraving for said moments, but I’m truly impressed by the amount of spending on commemorative masks,’ said Dennis.”

GOP Senate candidates in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Wisconsin have been left hanging after the mismanagement of funds that were supposed to help them in their races:

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“‘Republican Senate hopefuls are getting crushed on airwaves across the country while their national campaign fund is pulling ads and running low on cash — leading some campaign advisers to ask where all the money went and to demand an audit of the committee’s finances, according to Republican strategists involved in the discussions,’ reported Isaac Arnsdorf. ‘In a highly unusual move, the National Republican Senatorial Committee this week canceled bookings worth about $10 million, including in the critical states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Arizona. A spokesman said the NRSC is not abandoning those races but prioritizing ad spots that are shared with campaigns and benefit from discounted rates. Still, the cancellations forfeit cheaper prices that came from booking early, and better budgeting could have covered both,'” RawStory reported.

Scott came under fire from his party members for ads he ran featuring himself that promoted his own policy agenda of destroying Social Security and Medicare. Many joked about the NRSC, saying it stands for the “National Rick Scott Committee.”

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A national Republican consultant working on Senate races called for an audit into Scott’s handling of party finances, saying:

“If they were a corporation, the CEO would be fired and investigated. The way this money has been burned, there needs to be an audit or investigation because we’re not gonna take the Senate now and this money has been squandered. It’s a rip-off.”

As CEO of Columbia/HCA, Sen. Scott was party to the largest Medicare fraud in U.S. history. Scott and his company were fined $1.7 billion. The 2010 Florida Gubernatorial candidate claimed in his campaign that he would have “stopped” the fraud, if only he’d been told – despite the $840 million settlement judgment in 2000, announced by the Justice Department.

Sen. Rick Scott has a long history of accusations of financial mismanagement and fraud. It was only a matter of time before the GOP found out the hard way what happens when you put the fox at the helm of the hen house.

Original reporting by Isaac Arnsdorf at The Washington Post and by Sarah K. Burris at RawStory.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

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Ty Ross
News journalist for Occupy Democrats.

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