Here's how Rick Scott has blown millions meant for Republican Senate candidates
Senator Rick Scott speaking with attendees at the 2021 Student Action Summit. (Gage Skidmore)

This week it was revealed that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was dumping in tons of money into Republican candidates that are currently losing in an election where they thought it would be a walk.

But there's an organization in place to help senate candidates for the GOP and typically the money goes to ads and other money funds to help candidates with expenses like opposition research that the whole party can share.

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Scott's spending has been suspicious.

"As of that month, the committee disclosed spending just $23 million on ads, with more than $21 million going into text messages and more than $12 million to American Express credit card payments, whose ultimate purpose isn’t clear from the filings," the report explained. "The committee also spent at least $13 million on consultants, $9 million on debt payments and more than $7.9 million renting mailing lists, campaign finance data show."

The report goes on to reveal that Republicans are furious and demanding answers from Scott.

Pat Dennis, of American Bridge, a Democratic research organization, looked deeper into the spending charges now that the details have been released.

He pointed out that the spending from the group came from a lot of cash being dumped into buying lists. Most party campaign committees do list swaps with candidates as a more affordable way to develop lists to raise money.

"I don't have any big answers about the NRSC's finances, but I can tell you they categorized thousands in expenses to Waffle House as 'air charter,'" said Dennis. He noted, however, that the category was changed. "Only other folks getting money for air charter are Rick Scott himself, and the insurance company AFLAC for some reason."

An air charter means Scott is using the NRSC for a private plane to fly him around the country instead of flying commercial.

He also pointed out some other odd costs that the RNSC is spending money on, like fancy cups, figurines and commemorative masks.

"They spent $6k on commemorative cups, $6k on commemorative figurines, 2400 on engraving for said moments, but I'm truly impressed by the amount of spending on commemorative masks," said Dennis.

He noted they also spent $1.1 million in opposition research, which as a researcher, Dennis said isn't nearly enough. He remarked that typically such spending is front-loaded. When campaigns first begin they spend funds on such research to generate plans about ads, issues, polls and other materials. Scott didn't spend this money until less than 6 months before the election.

Dennis also observed that there was more than $50 million more in cash out the door than there was at the same time in the 2020 election year.

He also noticed that there's been a $5 million increase in spending on "postage" than the previous election.

Typically money on postage is used for raising money through letters to donors. It made Dennis think that it's possible the Republican Senate committee moved to try digital fundraising instead, but mismanaged it, resulting in more money spent and less money raised.

So, the dramatic decrease in money coming in the door might be why Scott can't spend as much on opposition research on Democratic candidates.

Rick Scott was forced out of his hospital company in the late 1990s after federal investigators found fraudulent billing and practices to the tune of 14 felonies. As the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported in 2018, "most happened under Scott’s leadership."

“If they were a corporation, the CEO would be fired and investigated,” said a national Republican consultant working on Senate races, according to the Washington Post. “The way this money has been burned, there needs to be an audit or investigation because we’re not gonna take the Senate now and this money has been squandered. It’s a rip-off.”

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