Is Rick Scott Demanding Campaign Donations In Exchange for Government Appointments?

Dave Gordon thought a seat on the board of the Orlando International Airport was all but his. He's the president of an aviation logistics company and has a master's degree in airline administration from Embry-Riddle.

However, Gordon claims that he was told by a prominent Republican fundraiser that in order to secure the appointment to the board he'd need to cough up $10,000 to a PAC funding Gov. Rick Scott's reelection. He refused and was subsequently passed over for the job.

Gordon tells The Orlando Sentinel that he was told by the fundraiser, who he refused to identify, that his experience meant the job was all but his if he just wrote that five-figure check to Scott's Lets Go To Work PAC.

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"It seemed like I would be buying the seat I was highly qualified for," Gordon says.

He refused to open his pockets and was passed over.

"I'm disappointed. I thought I was extremely qualified."

Instead Dean Asher, Jim Palmer and Domingo Sanchez, who have no professional experience in the airline industry were appointed.

Asher is president-elect of The Florida Realtors. The group's political wing, The Florida Realtors Advocacy Fund, coincidentally gave Scott's PAC $150,000 on July 11. Sanchez, a developer, did not do give to Scott's campaign, but did give $5,400 to Republican candidates last year. Jim Palmer gave $25,000 to Lets Got To Work just two weeks before receiving his appointment.

Gordon, meanwhile, had given $2,500 to the RPOF in 2010, and $3,000 to John McCain in 2008, but hasn't donated any money recently.

Scott's office didn't exactly deny the allegation to The Orlando Sentinel:

Scott's spokesman Brian Burgess said the governor makes appointments based on whether the candidates share his conservative political philosophy.

The governor "is methodical about achieving the goal of turning the economy around and making Florida the best place to live, work and play. It stands to reason that the people he chooses to fill board seats also share that vision," Burgess wrote in an email. Burgess would not comment further.

Right, because having strong conservative political leanings is a quality so important in running an airport. Nothing screams "small government" like government-controlled public airports. Lord knows what would happen if those damned dirty liberals got a hold of the airports. They'd probably let gay men serve openly as flight attendants.

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