SHOW ME THE MONEY
Rick Scott PAC’s Massive Fundraising Haul Gets a Controversial Assist
Two donors to the governor's super PAC have a, well, somewhat dubious history.
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s has built a behemoth fundraising operation in his bid to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), including the backing of a super PAC, New Republican PAC, that reported having more than $7 million in contributions in the second quarter.
But two contributions in the PAC’s latest quarterly fundraising report could cause more headaches than they’re worth. They reveal financial support for Scott’s Senate bid by a doctor and former health executive with a long and controversial history, involving allegations of kickbacks, financial conflicts of interest, and tens of millions of dollars in settlements with U.S. Justice Department.
The May 8 contributions came on from Theriac Management Associates LLC, which donated $60,000, and TEM LLC, which chipped in $10,000. State incorporation records list Daniel Dosoretz as an executive of both companies. Dosoretz is the former chairman and CEO of 21st Century Oncology, a Fort Myers, Florida, company that emerged from bankruptcy earlier this year.
Dosoretz was a key player in whistleblower allegations brought by the former chairman of Broward Health, a state public health system. That whistleblower, David DiPietro, alleged that Billy Rubin, a lobbyist close to Scott, used series of threats and kickbacks in an attempt to steer state money to 21st Century Oncology. As part of the scheme, DiPietro alleged, Dosoretz put political pressure on a Broward Health executive and “bragged” about his “close friendship” with Scott. On another occasion, DiPietro claimed, Rubin invoked Dosoretz’s financial support for Scott, suggesting that his campaign contributions would be useful in securing business for 21st Century Oncology. In the months before a multi-billion-dollar contract at the center of the allegations was awarded to the company, 21st Century Oncology “orchestrated payments to Governor Scott‘s campaign, inauguration, and Let’s Get to Work Committee in excess of $400,000,” DiPietro alleged.
At the time that contract was awarded, Scott had a stake—by way of a blind trust—in investment partnerships run by a private equity firm that owned 21st Century Oncology.
DiPietro’s “qui tam” whistleblower complaint, filed on behalf of the federal government, was stayed when 21st Century Oncology filed for bankruptcy in 2017. It has not resumed since then. A bankruptcy judge subsequently threw out DiPietro’s efforts to persist in his False Claims Act and anti-kickback statute claims, saying he hadn’t marshalled sufficient evidence for the charges in the context of bankruptcy proceedings.
But DiPietro’s allegations weren’t the only charges levied against the company. In December, 21st Century Oncology paid $26 million to settle False Claims Act allegations and charges of illegal kickbacks stemming from illicit financial relationships with doctors that referred patients to the company. On the same day, it paid a $2.3 million fine over a 2015 data breach that impacted more than two million patients. In 2015 and 2016, the company settled an additional $54 million claim over its billing of federal health care programs for medically-unnecessary procedures.
Those settlements and legal costs contributed to the financial woes that drove 21st Century Oncology into bankruptcy. Dosoretz resigned from the company’s board in early 2017, but his support for Scott’s political endeavors has persisted.
And he’s not the only New Republican PAC donor to draw scrutiny for his financial relationship with Scott. Other contributors to the group include a pair of companies that received more than $250 million in investment commitments from Florida’s state pension fund.