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COLUMN

Happytown

The week where Buddy Dyer wrote a rose-colored blog, Rick Scott sold more of his influence and we got to split hairs about the voter purge. The best week ever?

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"Apparently CNBC analysts are looking at Florida without the benefit of rose-colored glasses," the Tampa Bay Times opined. Maybe Buddy has an extra pair?

Speaking of present and future gubernatorial nonsense, the News Service of Florida pored through the quarterly reports of Florida Gov. Rick Scott's loosely aligned Let's Get To Work campaign piggybank sidecar last week, and, wonder of all wonders, the political action committee took in $2.8 million in the second quarter, bringing its 2012 total to $3.8 million. Lest we forget, Scott isn't even up for re-election until 2014; that alone should raise a brow or two as to how this fundraising machine is calibrated. Surprise! The QuidProQuo2012, as we like to call it, seems to be working just fine!

In the last three months, Let's Get To Work (er, Gov. Scott) received nine contributions that broke six figures, and among them are many of the usual suspects that can afford to buy policy. Florida Power & Light Co., Everglades-hating-Blockbuster-failing-monster-investor H. Wayne Huizenga and creepy casino guy (and former Newt Gingrich bookie) Sheldon Adelson led the charge, each tossing in $250,000. Further down the list, influence peddlers like Florida Blue (health care is bad!), the Geo Group (privatized prisons are good!), U.S. Sugar Corp. (er, Big Sugar) and Progress Energy (nukes!) also made the more-than-$100,000 boys' club cutoff. Now, of course, none of this is of any consequence because Scott hasn't even officially launched his own campaign account for 2014 yet. This will do nothing to set the agenda during the next two years of his tenure. Nothing at all.

From the Happytowntm clarifications and corrections department: A few days after we published our blog post on federal Judge Robert Hinkle's ruling on Florida's controversial and misguided voter purge, we got an email from Ernest Canning, who guest blogs for left-leaning bradblog.com, telling us that our headline, "Federal Judge OK's voter purge," Bloggytown, June 28, was incorrect. The order, he explains, did not give Florida an actual thumbs up on its botched attempt to purge the voter rolls – rather, he says, it refused to grant the U.S. Department of Justice's request for a temporary restraining order to halt the purge because the state voluntarily agreed it wouldn't continue to pursue it.

"The attorneys for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner walked into the federal courtroom, threw up their hands and surrendered," Canning writes. "There was no need for Judge Robert Hinkle to issue the temporary restraining order sought by the U.S. Department of Justice in order to stop what the DOJ described as an illegal, systematic purge of 'potential non-citizen' voters. Detzner voluntarily suspended the purge and promised the court it would not resume."

So while Scott and the state spun the decision as if it were a win for their side, that's not really true; rather Hinkle's decision acknowledges that it's the state's responsibility to keep accurate voter rolls and that it may indeed purge non-citizen voters from those rolls even if it's less than 90 days before an election, but that program should not challenge legally registered citizens who are voters. As this issue was going to press, Detzner and company were just granted access to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security database that could help them carry on with a more accurate purge.

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