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Gov. Rick Scott rewards donors with high-ranking posts

12:11 PM, Jan 11, 2013   |    comments
Florida Gov. Rick Scott on "CBS This Morning"
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TAMPA BAY, Florida - Governor Rick Scott has rewarded a number of political allies and donors with key posts on state boards.

Four of Scott's five nominations to the Florida Board of Governors on Thursday have made large contributions to the Governor's campaign or political action committee (PAC) in the last few years.

One of the board members, who will help deciding the fate of the state's 12 universities, is Harry "Wayne" Huizenga, whose family has made five donations to Scott's PAC totaling $465,500.

Huizenga, the son of the former majority owner of the Miami Dolphins, Florida Panthers, and Florida Marlins is also famous for founding Blockbuster Video, Waste Management, and AutoNation.  The family has been long-time Republican supporters, donating millions of dollars to GOP candidates and causes over the years.

Other Scott and GOP loyalists rewarded with posts Thursday include Ned Lautenbach, Alan Levine, and Wendy Link.  All three - along with their respective spouses - made maximum individual contribution of $500 each to Scott's gubernatorial campaign in 2010.

Lautenbach kicked in another $25,000 to the Republican Party of Florida in November 2010 then $15,000 to Scott's "Let's Get to Work" PAC in April 2012.

The only one of the five new Board of Governors nominations without an apparent track record of donations to Scott was Ed Wasmer.  However, the investment executive has a strong track record supporting GOP legislative candidates, and lives in Scott's hometown of Naples, Fla. 

Nominees Levine and Lautenbach also live in Naples.

Just like the saying, "to the victor go the spoils," it's not unusual for elected officials to reward loyal contributors with key posts.

"Gov. Rick Scott has chosen a group of well-qualified individuals, with broad ranges of skills and experience," said Board of Governors chairman Dean Colson, in a statement.

"Considering this group's wide range experience and expertise, it is clear our new members will have fresh perspectives to offer the Board of Governors," added Mori Hosseini, vice chair of the Board, also in a statement.

The board members, pending Senate confirmation, will serve seven-year terms, with the exception of Lautenbach, who will fill a seat with six years remaining.

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