Did Rick Scott’s campaign swing wild again in its response to an attack ad by a billionaire environmentalist?
No, says the campaign.
Yes, says a spokesman for NetGen Climate, a political organization founded by environmental advocate Tom Steyer, which is running ads against Scott.
The ad in question, “Fountain,” talks about oil drilling near the Everglades and a company that illegally used “fracking” chemicals in a well there.
“A dangerous new type of oil drilling near the Everglades threatened drinking water- for seven million Floridians,” the ad says. “But one Floridian’s benefiting. Rick Scott drank from a fountain of campaign cash from the company that profited off pollution.”
NextGen started running Fountain and another anti-Scott ad Friday.
The Scott campaign responded almost immediately with a new ad today from the Republican Party of Florida, calling the NextGen ad “fiction” and bashing the environmental record of Scott’s likely Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist.
In fact, the state GOP says, Scott has never received any money from the company involved, Dan A. Hughes Co.
The party called the Fountain ad “defamatory” and sent a letter to television stations demanding they refuse to air it.
Swing-and-a-miss, said NextGen. The Scott political donations, the group said, came from members of the Collier family, the legendary Florida landowners. Family members have given $200,000 to Scott’s political committee, Let’s Get To Work. And the family company, Collier Resources, owns the land where the drilling took placed and leased the mineral rights to Dan A. Hughes.
Collier Resources, noted NextGen, has longstanding involvement in the oil industry in Florida through mineral leases on its land.
A Scott campaign spokesman still insisted the ad is deceptive because it refers to “the company that profited off pollution,” meaning the polluter, not the organization that leased the land, noting that public land is often leased for oil drilling by the government.