A new report by the Florida Current examines the earnings of top legislative lobbying firms in Florida, which have increased since last year. Among the companies to have spent the most on lobbying is Automated HealthCare Solutions, a group whose co-chairmen have become fixtures on the political scene. According to the Current, Automated HealthCare has posted minimum lobbying expenditures greater than $300,000.
Doctors Paul Zimmerman and Gerald Glass, the founders of Automated HealthCare, were vocal opponents of a measure that would have reduced the cost of prescription drugs in the state’s workers’ compensation program. As Automated HealthCare provides systems for handling worker compensation and personal injury claims, the bill would have drastically affected the way the company does business. That bill (H.B. 5603) was eventually vetoed by then-Gov. Charlie Crist, but had been supported by former CFO Alex Sink.
During Sink’s gubernatorial campaign, three South Florida companies led by Zimmerman and Glass gave $500,000 in contributions to the Florida Liberty Fund, the vast majority of which was then transferred to the Florida First Initiative, a 527 group that was, at the time, associated with Sink’s gubernatorial rival, Bill McCollum. As The Florida Independent reported last August, Automated Healthcare donated $100,000 to the Florida Liberty Fund on Aug. 3, 2010; on Aug. 5, $124,000 was transferred to Florida First.
According to the Palm Beach Post, the doctors didn’t stop giving once McCollum lost the election — they just gave elsewhere:
But with McCollum out of the picture, the doctors quickly pivoted following the campaign – pouring $735,000 into the Florida Republican Party and another $145,000 to [Rick] Scott’s spending committee – in an attempt to make nice with the new GOP nominee, who is now a resident of the Governor’s Mansion.
And the doctors are still giving. While the business groups looking to cut worker’s comp costs aren’t shy about giving to the ruling state GOP, Automated Healthcare Solutions also has donated $203,500 to the party so far this year, records show, as it becomes more apparent another effort to rein-in repackaging is coming.
Zimmerman and Glass aren’t solely involved in state politics — in fact, Zimmerman is one of Republican presidential candidate frontrunner Mitt Romney’s Florida finance committee co-chairs.