Bill McCollum, the likely GOP nominee in the Florida gubernatorial race, is calling on the Republican Governors Association to give back a $200,000 donation from accused fraudster attorney Scott Rothstein, whose political support has become a hot issue in the race.
The statement from McCollum, who is in Austin for the RGA conference this week, comes on the heels of a demand from the Democratic Governors Association that McCollum ask the RGA to give the money back.
Rothstein’s hefty donation to the RGA, given during last year’s conference in Miami, was first reported by TPMmuckraker this week. In the current Florida gubernatorial race, Rothstein supported McCollum’s Democratic opponent, Alex Sink, and Sink has given back his donations.
The RGA has been conspicuously silent about the $200,000 from Rothstein, not returning multiple calls seeking comment.
Other candidates, most recently Bobby Jindal, have given Rothstein money to charity or pledged to give it to a victims’ compensation fund.
One exception is Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who collected $250,000 from Rothstein’s law firm — in an event organized by Rothstein friend Gov. Charlie Crist — for the Prop 11 campaign in California last year. The proposition, approved by a narrow margin, shifts redistricting power away from the state legislature.
But the Sacramento Bee reports that that money will not be going to charity or to victims of Rothstein’s alleged fraud:
The committee that received the money is now out of business, according to a lawyer for the firm that handled its affairs. Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger’s press secretary, says the governor has no plans to return the money since it went to the Proposition 11 committee, not his personal campaign account.