Bill Edwards is Rick Scott's largest campaign contributor outside of Scott's own family. Edwards is accused of defrauding veterans and military families and the Federal Trade Commission levied a huge $7.5 million dollar fine on his company. It's time for Scott to return the funds. Here's the email we sent out this morning:
It's time for Gov. Scott to come clean about his dirty money.
Scott’s 2014 re-election campaign accepted a $500,000 contribution from mega-donor Bill Edwards who, based on media reports, was involved in swindling Florida military families and veterans1. That's just wrong.
Bill Edwards is the largest individual donor to Scott’s 2014 re-election campaign outside of the governor’s own family. He runs a St. Petersburg-based mortgage company recently fined $7.5 million by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for violating the “Do Not Call” telemarketing law and for misrepresentations made to members and veterans of the military2.
Now, veterans are calling on Scott to return the half a million dollars he received from Edwards, pointing out it would simply be wrong for Scott to fund his campaign with money that could have come from defrauding members and veterans of our military.
Telemarketers working for Edwards allegedly led service members and veterans to believe they could receive low-interest, fixed-rate mortgages and then, according to regulators, sold them adjustable-rate mortgages leaving military families at risk of higher interest rates and skyrocketing payments. What’s worse is that Edwards apparently wrote the call scripts personally3.
This latest embarrassment harkens back to the Allied Veterans of the World scandal that engulfed Gov. Scott’s administration in March, leading to the resignation of his hand-picked Lt. Governor, Jennifer Carroll. After that scandal was exposed, Scott made amends for accepting a $2,000 campaign contribution from Allied Veterans – a group accused of racketeering, money laundering and contributing only a small fraction of its proceeds to help veterans4. Scott’s$500,000 contribution from Bill Edwards, derived from unscrupulous mortgage marketing to veterans and military families, should be addressed as well.
Mark and the Progress Florida team
1"Bill Edwards' Mortgage Investors Corp. hit with record FTC fine" Tampa Bay Times, 6/28/13.
2Group asks Rick Scott to return $500K contribution, Tampa Bay Times, 7/10/13.
4Gov. Rick Scott says he'll reimburse campaign donations linked to gambling scandal, WTSP 10 Tampa Bay, 3/19/13.