New Rick Scott ad goes after Bill Nelson on payroll taxes
Rick Scott took aim at California's cash giveaway scheme.

Rick Scott

Republican gubernatorial candidate Gov. Rick Scott is blasting his U.S. Senate opponent Bill Nelson for reports that the Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator wasn’t paying payroll taxes to campaign staffers.

“Stealing from Medicare,” a 30-second television and digital ad launching today, charges that Nelson is “stealing from Medicare and Social Security” by not paying the employers’ matching share of those taxes [though Medicare and Social Security actually would be made whole, because the employees would be required to make up the difference in their tax returns.]

But the real hit is the implied allegation of hypocrisy against Nelson on taxes, something that Scott hit Nelson with last week.

“It’s unfair. Bill Nelson increases your taxes, but he doesn’t pay his own,” the narrator declares.

The ad cites news reports from earlier this month that showed that much of Nelson’s campaign staff was working, at least through the June 30 campaign finance reports, as independent contractors brought into the campaign as individual consultants. It also charges that Nelson wasn’t paying toward health insurance coverage for the campaign staffers.

Nelson’s campaign has said that arrangement is typical of campaign startups, and that his campaign is transitioning many of the staff members to employee status, offering payroll taxes. In the meantime, independent contractors pay their own taxes and arrange for their own medical insurance, as they are not formally employees of the organization.

Nelson’s campaign also has previously and repeatedly refuted Scott’s charge that Nelson has voted to raise taxes 300 times, saying several fact-checking organizations debunked that claim.

The new commercial doesn’t specify the number of tax increases, just that Nelson has supported tax increases, and it lays hard into Nelson about his own record as an employer.

“Reports of Bill Nelson habitually refusing to pay taxes is nothing short of shameful,” Scott stated in a news release issued Monday. “Bill Nelson raises your taxes, but it appears he doesn’t pay his own. He fights for big government through health insurance mandates, then reportedly avoids providing health insurance for his own employees. This is exactly the kind of hypocrisy we have come to expect from a career politician like Bill Nelson. We need leaders in Washington who will look out for Florida taxpayers instead of looking out for themselves.”

Scott’s campaign has said it pays payroll taxes and health insurance premiums for its employees, though it, too, has a some — a small number — of independent contractors.

Nelson’s Campaign Manager Marley Wilkes responded, “The campaign pays payroll taxes and this is just another Rick Scott lie.”


Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • Mark Stephens

    August 1, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Why aren’t news corporations holding their advertising clients to a higher standard of truth? When an ad is allowed to run and is false or with information left out it’s not correctly informing the public. Both candidates and news organizations should tell the truth. As usual, the dollar is the bottom line paying bills for corporations and swaying voters with misinformation for many political campaigns.

    • Don Turner

      August 2, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      Stations are not allowed to censor, refuse, or edit an ad for a candidate for federal office. Not surprising that the people who make the laws would come up with that one.

  • Ernie Langdon

    August 1, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    I don’t believe Rick Scott has one positive ad on TV. All he does is spend vast amounts of money to say negative things about Bill Nelson. Lets hear Scott talk about his record for a change. What he did as CEO of HCA and what he has done as Governor of Florida for the past eight years. Bill nelson is very willing to talk about his record, why isn’t Scott?

    • BPH

      August 6, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      I agree Scott us just like Trump, liars seem to get away with it all. Deny it, it works for Trump & his Base. His Base??? What about the totality of the American People, Scott is the scum of the earth and has done so much harm to Florida. He doesn’t care that his bid against Climit change, which is real. Another Trump Puppet so people of FL please don’t fall for his propaganda 🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮

  • Mark Jacobs

    August 2, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Hahaha. This is the best scott can do? Twist the truth about some campaign workers? Good grief. I only hope scott (who bought his governorship) will lose it all on his own disastrous campaign.

  • Bill Michalchick

    August 2, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    I agree re: holding the media to higher standards and verifing statements prior to airing. By the time these ads are shown, seeds have already been planted. Is that the game plan, deceit ? Throw it out there and see what sticks !

  • Philip Bernstein

    August 2, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Rick Scott is deceiving the public in his accusations of Bill Nelson not paying payroll taxes. Rick Scott will deceive the public forever. Men like him do not deserve to live. Through the power of prayer I pray for the death of Rick Scott.

    • Steve Cabrera

      August 3, 2018 at 8:59 pm

      Mighty Christian of you!

    • Leonard Reiss

      August 8, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      Praying for someone to die! I think you need to pray to G-d to help you! I would never vote for Rick Scott, even for the town dog catcher but praying for his death is sick! This coming from a lonsman!


        August 9, 2018 at 5:36 pm

        Okay Captain Hook-Nose. Just what I would expect from a Askinaski.


      August 9, 2018 at 5:36 pm

      Okay Captain Hook-Nose. Just what I would expect from a Askinaski.

  • Gene Dietz

    August 3, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    If networks are required to telecast ads with lies, then they should be required to do a fact check and telecast the TRUTH afterwards. After what Scott did as CEO of HCA, I don’t know why anyone would vote for him. Many HCA employees lost a lot of their 401-Ks because of him.

  • Richard C

    August 4, 2018 at 12:45 am

    Has anyone noticed that the big round circle around taxes paid is a CA form. Why is Scott using a form from California? Is he running for office in California also?

  • Marcella Respini

    August 4, 2018 at 2:02 am

    Let’s hear Rick Scott talk about his time as CEO of Columbia HCA when they were fined 1.7 billion before he deceives the public about one of the most honest, hardworking senators who isn’t a narcissistic braggart distorting the truth because Bill Nelson is too busy working for the American people.

    • Dan Schermerhorn

      August 8, 2018 at 8:08 pm

      Absolutely Marcella, Tricky Rick had the keys to the Ferrari when he was at HCA…he was running the show…and walked…I especially like the fact that Ricky has almost tripled his personal fortune since he took office…how do you do that…….HUH?HUH? winky winky…… I, like you have no desire to replace this hard working and honest man and am disgusted with the likes of a boot licking Trump sucker like Scott potentially “representing” me in the Senate…Little Marco is bad enough.

  • Nicole Carro

    August 6, 2018 at 9:03 am

    More complete baloney from Scott. Wage growth is nonexistent in this state and employees have zero rights, and millions of Floridians are uninsured thanks to his failure to expand medicaid, yet he’s calling out Senator Nelson for a routine practice while he also has some contracted employees on his campaign.

    We can not let this self-serving weasel go to Washington. He’s wrecked our water and coastlines, decimated our middle class, and left millions of Floridians without insurance. He can never be trusted to do the right thing.

  • Chris Murphy

    August 12, 2018 at 10:24 am

    It is a very common practice in all part time, temporary and sales positions in florida to be 1099 employees which means you are responsible for all taxes.
    It is a common practice in politics, and I am sure in Scotts ranks to have 1099 campaign employees. You may also want to check his business’ for 1099 employees before you place votes on his claims.
    Also Rick Scott was out of the country on his private jet when our water crisis was peaking. There was a bill on Trumps desk for a month before things got really bad co sponsored by both Nelson and Rubio.
    Nelson attended all public forums with all water conservationists.
    Scott showed up weeks later trying to save the day. Great photo op.
    Do you really think Nelson raised your taxes? Who is in charge of the senate and congress.
    Take big money out of politics. We don’t even know what many candidates stand for except mud slinging

Comments are closed.


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