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EDITOR OF REDSTATE

The Bill McCollum Campaign Looks Desperate and Dead to Integrity

“Here we have the Attorney General of Florida abusing his office to destroy a company all to help his standing in the polls.”

Holy cow. I never would have thought I’d see Bill McCollum stoop to cheap political tricks to try to boost his poll numbers.Short of putting a dead girl or live boy in Rick Scott’s trunk, I don’t think McCollum could have gone lower. Down in Florida, the sitting Attorney General of the state tried to use the powers of his office to destroy a company once owned by his competitor,Rick Scott. Then he apparently found a plaintiff’s lawyer to sue Rick Scott weeks before the primary and coordinated with the lawyer to have the lawyer serve Rick Scott a subpoena at Scott’s own press conference to ensure it was caught on tape by the press.The evidence of coordination and desperate opportunism is abundant.I cannot believe Republican voters in Florida will support a guy so desperate that, as the sitting Attorney General, he would say to heck with integrity and encourage a political donor to drum up a frivolous lawsuit against Scott.Heck, how exactly can McCollum now take a stand against frivolous lawsuits, when he just had one manufactured as a PR stunt?The details are appalling.Stephen Andrews is a plaintiffs attorney in Florida. His law firm has given thousands of dollars to the Republican Party of Florida and his wife, or a lady with the same last name who lives at the same house, also donated directly to Bill McCollum.Andrews’ lawsuit is the textbook definition of a frivolous lawsuit — the type McCollum says he is opposed to, but is actually seeking to politically profit from in this case.The complain alleges that Rick Scott and his former company are a “public hazard.” But for purposes of Florida law, they cannot be considered public hazards. “Public hazard”, under Florida law, means something that has to pose a tangible danger to public health or safety. Monetary and economic injury, which Andrews’s case centers around, are not public hazards. So even assuming Andrews is right and there is Medicare fraud going on, that’s an economic injury, not a public hazard.But it does not matter. Andrews has no standing to bring the suit in the first place. In the second paragraph of the Complaint, Andrews claims he is a substantially affected person because his son may hypothetically use one of Solantic’s urgent care clinics in the future.Seriously. He’s alleging that his son may hypothetically in some reality possibly use a clinic and is therefore a victim.It is no wonder that the First District Court of Appeals in Florida found that Mr. Andrews might have once committed malpractice. See Anderson v. Andrews, 692 So. 2d 237 (1997).Now what is this all about and how do I know Bill McCollum is behind this.For months, Bill McCollum has been trying to get the media to cover one of Scott’s former companies, the aforementioned alleged “public hazard” that Rick Scott was in charge of.Here is a timeline sent out by the Scott campaign:

A Timeline Showing How Bill McCollum abused the power and prestige of his office to plant a false story about Solantic in the media:July 16th, 2010: McCollum receives an email “tip” that alleges Solantic is breaking the law. But the email contains no specifics, no dates, and no times, and the e-mailer admits he isn’t sure of his allegation.July 30th, 2010: McCollum’s campaign attorney recommends the “evidence” be forwarded to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.July 31st, 2010: The Florida Independent backs off publishing the story because they cannot corroborate any of the facts.August 7th, 2010: McCollum campaign leaks the letter to several media outlets. All refuse to cover the story because they can’t substantiate the claims.On behalf of the McCollum campaign, Florida House Speaker Larry Cretul releases a letter containing allegations against Solantic.August 9th, 2010: McCollum himself tells reporters he has heard “rumors” that Solantic is breaking the law.McCollum gets the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which reports to him in his capacity as Attorney General, to tell the Associated Press that they have received information and are “looking into it.” The Associated Press still refuses to write the story.McCollum, growing desperate to get the story into print, leaks the email to Stephen R. Andrews, an attorney who is known for pulling political stunts.The attorney files a “lawsuit” and attaches the email as an exhibit, making the unsubstantiated allegations public.Florida media writes about the unsubstantiated email, enabling McCollum to use it as a campaign issue.

So McCollum abuses his office to hound a company and then gets the media to being reporting the story.Nevermind that the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration “has no current or former investigations into Solantic.”More troubling, the “tip” to McCollum came from a disgruntled doctor. The McCollum campaign consulted lawyer Stephen Dobson on the matter. Dobson wrote a memo for the McCollum campaign on the matter. Then, miracle of miracles, the allegations made in the tip wind up in Mr. Andrews’ lawsuit. Dobson, by the way, also represents the indicted Speaker of the Florida House.This thing reeks of desperation. Republicans have for a year attacked the Obama Administration for trying to destroy companies for political gain. Here we have the Attorney General of Florida abusing his office to destroy a company all to help his standing in the polls. Oh, by the way, how else do I know this was a McCollum stunt? Because every single person I know who is helping McCollum with his PR sent me the video as soon as they possibly could.It is pathetic.

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