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FactCheck: McCollum, Scott, And Solantic

Now that the dust has settled over Rick Scott press-conference meltdown, let’s get some facts out about McCollum, Scott, and Solantic.

Rick Scott, the Republican front-runner for Florida governor, said Thursday that a video deposition he gave in a lawsuit over a healthcare company is none of the public’s business.

“It’s a private matter and I will not release the deposition,” Scott said.

Scott made the comments at a hastily called press conference in which he unexpectedly flew to Tallahassee to accuse his Republican rival, Attorney General Bill McCollum, of abusing his power by attempting to sic state investigators on the company involved in the lawsuit, Solantic Urgent Care, which Scott founded in 2001.

He said the attorney general’s campaign staff were also phoning and knocking on the doors of current and former employees, and customers of Solantic’s to trash the chain of walk-in clinics.

“This is a clear abuse of power. This is exactly what thugs do in third-world countries to keep power,” Scott said. “Bill McCollum is the Tonya Harding of Florida politics,” he said, referring to the figure skater linked to a brutal attack on a rival in 1994.

All of it, is of course, completely unture.

Claim: Attorney General McCollum used his office to investigate Rick Scott.

Fact: The executive director of the FDLE is appointed by the Governor then approved by the Cabinet and Senate. The appointed commissioner then has independent authority to manage the office as they see fit. FDLE is not under any control by Bill McCollum so Rick Scott’s claims that he is using his office to go after on Solantic are patently untrue.

Florida Statute 20.201(1): “The executive director of the department shall be appointed by the Governor with the approval of three members of the Cabinet and subject to confirmation by the Senate.”

Claim: The McCollum Campaign sought out disgruntled former Solantic employees.

Fact: While Dr. Prokes did contact the McCollum campaign, it was after he had already been speaking to members of the media. Most notably, Tristram Korten of the Florida Independent was in contact with him and broke the story. The McCollum campaign referred Dr. Prokes inquiry to the appropriate authorities on advice of counsel.

Mystery Deposition

There is, of course, the question of the deposition. Rick Scott is running on “I’m a busunessman” campaign, he should get the deposition out there. If there is nothing there, then we will see and move on. Rick Scott won’t be asked questions like these again.

The deal with Solantic has been going on six days before Rick Scott even announced he was running for governor. If Scott is going to attack McCollum on his record of service, McCollum has every right to point and attack Scott’s record as a businessman. For Rick Scott to cry foul is bad sport on his part. Turnabout is only fair play.

[Cross-Posted On Practical State.com]

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