The League of American Voters, a little-known Washington, D.C., conservative group that campaigned aggressively against the health-care reform law signed by President Obama, released a new ad attacking Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum’s opponent Rick Scott. The group also donated $50,000 to a McCollum-associated 527 group Friday.
The ad, which the Palm Beach Post reported as costing “seven figures,” attacks Rick Scott for his tenure at Columbia/HCA when the U.S. government fined the company $1.7 billion for Medicare and Medicaid fraud. In a new line of attack, the ad mentions a blog post from Ben Smith of Politico on XFone, Inc., a company Rick Scott invested in touting grants it received under the stimulus despite the fact that Scott opposes the stimulus.
The League of American Voters ran ads last summer and fall against health care reform. One series of ads imitated the “I’m a Mac”/”I’m a P.C.” ads by Apple. However, NBC and ABC declined to air one ad showing a neurosurgeon saying that the health care reform bill would “hurt our seniors” and impose rationing, citing FCC regulations that networks must act with “reasonable care” to prevent “false or misleading advertising.”
Dick Morris, the former adviser to President Clinton, is affiliated with the group, as an “urgent letter” from him “to stop Obama plan” is featured on the site’s homepage. Morris has also touted the group’s ads on the Sean Hannity show on Fox News. The organization shares an address and suite number with Americans for Tax Reform, a group led by Grover Norquist, though the group has denied any formal association beyond its tenancy. (The League of American Voters did not respond to requests for comment.)
But the ad is part of a larger connection Attorney General Bill McCollum has with the League of American Voters. Friday, the organization contributed $50,000 to the Florida First Initiative, a 527 group McCollum is associated with that spent $415,000 on advertising late last week.
The two parties also share a connection with Rick Wilson, a Tallahassee-based Republican consultant and McCollum backer. As quoted in the St. Petersburg Times on July 13 about the McCollum campaign’s low cash flow, he said, “That ain’t the last $800,000 Bill McCollum’s going to see.” Wilson produced an ad for the League of American Voters, according to the HuffPost Investigative Fund. He also produced an infamous 2002 ad against Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.), who is a double amputee from the Vietnam War, criticizing him for voting against Homeland Security funding, questioning “his courage to lead” and showing a picture of Osama Bin Laden.
Rick Scott and Bill McCollum have no discernible policy differences on health care according to their campaign websites, both opposing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by President Obama, cutting health care costs and more “choice” and “competition” for health insurance. McCollum is part of a lawsuit challenging the constiutionality of the law, while Scott founded Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, another group advocating against health care reform.