Election Complaints Filed Against Rick Scott and Charlie Crist

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: March 19, 2014 3:55 AM
Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist

Democrats and Republicans exchanged electoral complaints in the Florida gubernatorial race this week.

Allison Tant, the chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, filed a complaint last week with the Florida Elections Commission insisting Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign broke the law when it shifted almost $27.4 million from Let’s Get to Work, a group backing Scott, to a new group. Earlier this month, Let’s Get to Work was dissolved and its funds forwarded to a new group backing Scott.

Tant and the Florida Democrats are looking to make an issue of the transfer even as Scott’s team insists it was entirely legal.

“Rick Scott is no stranger to breaking the law,” the Florida Democrats insisted on Monday. “The Florida Democratic Party is holding Rick Scott to account for his illegal campaign tactics.”

Tant talked to the Associated Press on Monday explaining her decision to file a complaint over the transfer.

The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) fired back on Tuesday, as it lodged a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission regarding how trial attorney firm Morgan & Morgan is running billboards across the state featuring former Gov. Charlie Crist’s face plastered on them. The ads usually offer generic public service announcements ranging from thanking teachers to urging people not to text and drive. 


Charlie Crist billboard

"We just wanted to say thank you, John Morgan, for helping with the Republican Party of Florida’s complaint with the state election commission," said Matt Moon, a spokesman for Scott. "John Morgan confirmed that the billboards featuring Charlie Crist were still up after Crist filed to run for governor, representing a clear and continuing violation of campaign finance laws by both his firm, Morgan & Morgan, and the Crist campaign.

"On top of that, John Morgan’s admission contradicts the explanation of the Crist campaign’s lawyer, Mark Herron, who claims that the complaint is frivolous because the billboards served 'a legitimate business purpose.' If that were true, why did John Morgan order them to be taken down?" Moon continued. "'Big Mouth Morgan' let the truth slip out. Crist’s trial lawyer friends illegally advertised on his behalf and the Crist campaign hid it from ’the people.’" 

Despite spending most of his political career as a Republican, Crist is the favorite for the Democratic nomination to challenge Scott in November. Crist worked for Morgan & Morgan when he left office after the 2010 elections and appeared on billboards and commercials for his new employer.

The RPOF insisted the billboards are an “unreported in-kind contribution that far exceeds the statutory contribution limit of $3,000 per person.”

Juston Johnson, the executive director of the RPOF, offered his take after filing the complaint.

"I guess it should be no surprise that trial lawyer Charlie Crist is being helped by his trial lawyer partners at Morgan & Morgan, but his campaign's failure to report their help is a violation of the law,” Johnson insisted on Tuesday. “Morgan & Morgan billboards with Charlie Crist's face on them while he was a declared candidate qualified as a reportable contribution.”

Johnson even used the firm’s “for the people” phrase against it on Tuesday.

“Failing to report the billboards is a clear breach of the law and a promise to work 'for the people," Johnson insisted.

John Morgan, of his namesake law firm, insisted the billboards should have been taken down months ago and refused to classify them as a donation to Crist.

Tant called on Tuesday afternoon for television stations in Florida not to run any ads from Let’s Go to Work.

“Following the law isn’t hard for most Floridians, but apparently Rick Scott just doesn’t care,” Tant said on Tuesday. “Florida’s leaders need to set an example, and unfortunately Rick Scott is just an example of everything Floridians dislike about politicians. Rick Scott just doesn’t think the rules apply to him, and that’s why he’s lost the trust of Floridians.”

The RPOF fired back Tuesday night, "Let’s Get To Work purchased the TV ads March 11. Under section 106.1437, FS, the 'Families' spot as sponsored by a political committee is a miscellaneous advertisement. Therefore, the spot has the correct disclaimer, including the required oral voice over of the statement of sponsorship.

"Instead of wasting their time and energy trying to be election law lawyers, the Florida Democratic Party should focus on winning races and figuring out how they’re going to help their Obamacare-embracing favored candidate, Charlie Crist, win in November. After all, that didn’t work so well for Alex Sink." 


Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (16)

one more term for all
8:39AM MAR 20TH 2014
Back To: Mark Matis @ 9:12AM MAR 19TH 2014

Mel Sembler, the founder of Straight, Inc. was old friends with CharLIE's father who was on the Pinellas School Board. With Sembler's connection to Bush (41) along with (43) and Jeb he was able to fling CharLIE right into the Bush political dynasty Starting with Ed Comish when it was still an elected position.

Rick Scott has started his poor mouthing and talking about his poor old mother and how hard it was to make a living and all that BS. But he never mentions he has a law degree, that he was a partner with Johnson and Swanson in Texas and a partner in the Texas Rangers with Tom Hicks and George W. Bush. He never mentions that it was his connections to "W" that got him and Richard Rainwater in on the pick up the pieces deals with Jeb"s friend and partner Miguel Recarey (International Medical Centers) who was #1 in Billion inMedicare Fraud with the help of Jeb and his DC connections until Scott and Rainwater learned the tricks of the trade and come in second place in US history with their Columbia/ HCA Medicare Fraud. Recarey is on the run from federal charges and Jeb and Rick Scott are "ruining" the state of Florida.

The best thing for the people of Florida and the USA is to give Jeb Bush, CharLIE Crist and Rick Scott each one more term. We suggest 20 years to life! And surely there must be something an honest justice system could charge John Morgan with, but his close friend and ally Obama would just have Holder make that all go away as well.

Mr. Richard L. 'Rick' Scott
• Bar Card Number:17909700
• Texas License Date:11/06/1978

• Work Address:700 N Adams St

Tallahassee, FL 32303-6131

• Primary Practice Location: FORT WORTH , Texas
Current Member Status: Inactive
Jeffrey Lauffer D.C.
10:39PM MAR 19TH 2014
I'm sorry, is there a same medical marijuana "change of mind" related issue here? how about no vaccinations?

Mr Morgan or Menendez
Jeffrey Lauffer D.C.
10:08PM MAR 19TH 2014
Isn't this the same personal injury Esq. John Morgan that has the Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo on his pay roll....I heard that Greg stated that he has the best boss...... as John Morgan has allow him to have time off from Morgan and Morgan to be Speaker of the House in Kentuck..... where Morgan states he was raised.
Jeffrey Lauffer D.C.
10:12PM MAR 19TH 2014
"allowed" and "Kentucky" for those litary experts.....
1:49PM MAR 19TH 2014
The prupose of the Domocrat complaint is not based on any real violation, but to raise again the legal problems Scott had in the past, Their complaint will go nowhere, but they dont care, they just want to raise that issue again.

The Complint against Charlie, "which way is the wind blowing" is real, and there should be a violation finding based on it.

I do not care much for either political party, but the Democrat Party is clearly the worst.
Gene Ralno
11:31AM MAR 19TH 2014
Charlie would be better served if he'd simply run away, change his name, grow a beard and campaign as a democrat far from Florida -- Washington or Oregon perhaps.
10:32AM MAR 19TH 2014
“Rick Scott is no stranger to breaking the law,” the Florida Democrats insisted on Monday."

From a group defending a man whose known associates are in prison. ie...Jim Greer, Scott Rothstein...shall I go on?
Independent Greg
10:30AM MAR 19TH 2014
I'm gonna take a closer look at Nan Rich. These two clowns leave me cold.
11:25AM MAR 19TH 2014
I don't know who Nan Rich is, but you better think twice about throwing your vote away.........orange man is in ovomits draws lock, stock and barrel, so for me that's all she wrote.
10:02AM MAR 19TH 2014
The Dems have NOTHING to offer except re-runs! And does it surprise anyone that Morgan and Morgan "for the profit" has a bet on this horse?
9:30AM MAR 19TH 2014
Charlie Crist needs to start promoting not only the legalization of medical marijuana but also recreational marijuana if he wants to sit in the Florida Governors seat again. Politicians love bringing money to their backyard, fact. The World wide tourism would increase year round for Florida businesses. Colorado is expecting $194 million dollars in tax revenues over the next 18 months. Florida could see four times that. We have more hotels and motels and the beaches. All the other stuff Scott is supporting is the same old same old and cost tax payers. Marijuana is new found money and revenues. Charlie, the choice is yours and you have the backing from all parties on this.
10:04AM MAR 19TH 2014
Florida does not need a Charlie Christ re-run! No matter what he supports!
12:13PM MAR 19TH 2014
Florida does not need a Scott re-run.
7:00AM MAR 19TH 2014
It's quite apparent that BOTH the Democrats AND Republicans need to take a break from the swiping at each other and let the candidates do their own campaigning! These side actions distract from the main point of this coming election. WHO is more qualified to Govern our state? So far, the majority of comments have come from those standing on the sidelines simply trying to get attention to their candidate! Problem is, most of us are not buying into their bullying tactics and mostly tune out whatever they're complaining about. Time for the candidates to take back control of their own campaign so the people will be able to make informed decisions!
Mark Matis
9:12AM MAR 19TH 2014
The answer to your question "WHO is more qualified to Govern our state?" is "NEITHER!!!" They are both nothing more than opposite ends of the same steaming turd. Orange Man was specifically chosen by Jeb! to replace him as governor of Florida at the end of his term several years ago. And Scott also has no problem with illegal aliens, and specifically chose Angela Corey to persecute George Zimmerman after the Sanford police had completed their investigation and determined that Mr. Zimmerman had committed no crime. May both of them soon burn in hell where they belong.
9:33AM MAR 19TH 2014
Does this mean your gonna run for Governor this November? If not then who? Or, maybe leave the seat open.

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