TALLAHASSEE -- The money from Internet cafes won’t be missed.
Gov. Rick Scott intends to write a personal check for $2,000 as a gesture intended to distance his campaign from a multi-state racketeering investigation involving the cafes. For the campaign committee backing his 2014 re-election effort, the amount has been much more than surpassed in just the past week.
Over a five day period last week – March 25 to March 29 – the Tallahassee-based fundraising machine "Let’s Get to Work" hauled in nearly $1.27 million from 189 different sources, with the largest chunk a $500,000 donation from Treasure Island entertainment and mortgage refinancing giant William L. Edwards Trust.
Other big named contributors during that period included: West Palm Beach developer E. Llwyd Ecclestone, who gave $50,000; a trust for Board of Education appointee Gary Chartrand, $50,000; University Park developer Randell Benderson, $100,000; Robert Stork of Vero Beach, $125,000; U.S. Sugar in Clewiston, $100,000; the Florida Freedom Council, $100,000; and Leon Advertising & Public Relations of Miami, $100,000.
The contributions come as officially announced Democratic candidate Nan Rich will have to release her first quarter fundraising report for 2013, due April 10.
Rich, a former state legislator, entered the race nearly a year ago but remains in the shadow of the Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat former Gov. Charlie Crist, who has publicly expressed interest in running. Rich ended 2012 having raised $80,500.
Meanwhile, "Let’s Get to Work" has pulled in $3.53 million this year, with nearly $2.25 million arriving in March. Last year, the committee collected $4.79 million.
The latest contributions follow Scott’s announcement that he would personally donate $2,000 to the Florida Veterans Foundation as a symbolic means to repay contributions he received during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign from individuals associated with Allied Veterans of the World.
Nearly 50 people have been arrested, and the state’s lieutenant governor resigned over connections to Allied Veterans, the company at the center of the probe.