Florida Gov. Rick Scott's image and his name and videos disappeared from the Let's Get to Work website. (The photo on the right was taken last Thursday.)
Consider his disappearance just another sure sign of his expected jump into the race for U.S. Senate against incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. Scott is planning to make a "major" and "big" announcement about his political future on Monday in Orlando.
Scott first started Let's Get to Work in the heat of the 2010 campaign for governor as an electioneering communication organization amid potential fears that the governor's self-funded campaign would bust a spending cap that could result in Republican primary opponent Bill McCollum getting a dollar-for-dollar match from public financing. Scott sued in federal court and eventually won an important ruling that declared the spending cap law unconstitutional. But the organization remained in play that whole campaign season.
After ECOs as they were known were eliminated by the Legislature, Let's Get to Work became a political committee that then assisted Scott's re-election. But even after he won a second term, the committee paid for television ads meant to push Scott's agenda through a sometimes recalcitrant GOP-controlled Legislature.
But the problem with the committee for Scott is that it relied on large corporate donations, taking checks in from various groups whose business can be affected by Scott and the Legislature. (U.S. Sugar, for example, gave more than $600,000 over a three-year period. Private prison providers, health care providers, utilities, business associations are among the long list of those who gave money.)
So in order to remain complaint under federal election law while he runs for U.S. Senate Scott needed to distance himself from his creation. Hence the makeover of the website this weekend.
It was already clear that the end was coming. Donations stop flowing into the political committee in the last few months. Records _ including those were self-reported by the committee _ show that at this point that Let's Get to Work has less than $200,000 in its bank accounts. The committee has spent more than $57 million since March 2014.
While Scott's name and image have vanished from the website, it now states that "Let’s Get to Work is supported by Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera. Its chairman, Abby Dupree, is also associated with this organization."
This was apparently news to Lopez-Cantera, who Scott appointed in January 2014 right ahead of his re-election campaign.
Brian Swensen, who served as campaign manager for Lopez-Cantera's U.S. Senate bid in 2016, said neither he or Lopez-Cantera were aware that the LG was still being associated with Let's Get to Work.
Now while the official Let's Get to Work website has been wiped the videos and ads that the committee did on behalf of Scott still remain on YouTube.
(UPDATE: Matt Dixon with Politico Florida reported on Sunday night that the New Republican Super PAC has also removed all references to Scott. Scott became chairman of the group last year, but he has to sever his connections to the organization once he becomes a federal candidate.)