The battle to replace Charlie Crist as Florida’s governor is heating up in the GOP primary.
Earlier this week, the Bill McCollum campaign released a new TV ad with Jeb Bush, the popular former governor, urging conservatives to back McCollum.
Former healthcare executive Rick Scott is waging a multimillion-dollar TV ad effort to wrest the GOP nomination from McCollum, the state’s attorney general.
On Saturday, McCollum’s campaign released a memo sharply criticizing Scott. It cited press reports from the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, which slammed Scott for his role running one of the nation’s largest hospital companies.
The newspaper reported: “It was and still is the biggest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history and ended with the hospital giant Columbia/HCA paying a record $1.7 billion in fines, penalties and damages. Now the guy who ran the company at the time wants a new job: Florida’s governor.”
The McCollum release follows:
Today, McCollum for Governor Campaign Manager Matt Williams issued the following statement on Rick Scott’s misleading attacks on Attorney General Bill McCollum regarding immigration:
“It’s sad but unsurprising that Rick Scott is so desperate to avoid questions about his own role in orchestrating the largest Medicare fraud scheme in American history that he is misleading Florida voters about Bill McCollum’s record on cracking down on illegal immigration.
“Rick Scott shamelessly distorts Attorney General McCollum’s record on cracking down on illegal immigration and opposing amnesty. This is just another case of fraud by a man whose company was forced to pay a record $1.7 billion in fines for defrauding taxpayers, before being forced out by his own board.
“We challenge Rick Scott to do what he has yet to do in more than a month of running millions in television ads – come before the press to clear his name. He won’t because he can’t. He’s a fraud.
“In August, Florida voters will have a clear choice between Bill McCollum, a candidate who has fought fraud as Florida’s Attorney General, and Rick Scott, a candidate who has committed it.”
Today, Rick Scott launched a massive statewide television ad buy attacking Attorney General McCollum, distorting his position and record on illegal immigration. It’s clear the Scott Campaign is desperately reaching to change the conversation from the headlines on his candidacy this week:
- SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL: “It was and still is the biggest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history and ended with the hospital giant Columbia/HCA paying a record $1.7 billion in fines, penalties and damages. Now the guy who ran the company at the time wants a new job: Florida’s governor.” (SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, 5/21/10)
- SUN-SENTINEL: “Rick Scott was co-founder and CEO of Columbia/HCA in the 1990s, when the FBI launched a massive, multi-state investigation that led to the company pleading guilty to criminal charges of overbilling the government.” (SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, 5/21/10)
- SUN-SENTINEL: ““Among the fraudulent practices uncovered: billing Medicare and Medicaid for unnecessary lab tests, creating false diagnoses to claim a higher reimbursement and charging for marketing and advertising costs that were disguised as community education.” (SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, 5/21/10)
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