You're George Sheldon. You're a Democrat running for attorney general against Pam Bondi, a woman whose name is always in the news for one controversy or another. Despite that most Floridians have no idea who you are, and you're not doing so hot in the polls.
So what do you do? File a blockbuster lawsuit against the even more controversial Rick Scott for failing to disclose $200 million in assets on his state disclosure forms in a move that not only gets your own name in the headlines, but gives Florida a taste of your legal skills and helps fellow Democrat Charlie Crist in his own race against Scott.
Brilliant campaign move, George Sheldon!
Sheldon, a former member of the state House of Representatives and deputy Attorney General under Bob Butterworth, filed the suit today. It claims Scott has used a series of blind trusts and other financial maneuvers to shield more than $200 million in assets from public disclosure in conflict with the Florida constitution's law that all public official publicly disclose their full financial holdings. Meanwhile, Scott's financials disclosures with the SEC appear to differ greatly from his financial disclosure in Florida.
"Rick Scott has under-reported his financial interests; the assets that he owns and controls,'' Sheldon writes in the suit. "He reports one set of facts to the State of Florida and another set of facts to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Both cannot be true.''
Basically, the whole thing is a complicated legal and financial mess that essentially boils down to what assets Scott actually controls and which are controlled by his wife, and what assets are constitutionally required to be disclosed in Florida. These are important things and Scott has been sued over this before. (He won the case, but plaintiff Jim Apthorp, a former aide to Gov. Rueben Askew, is appealing.)
But because the general election is less than a month away, that's not what is really important here.
Sheldon wants to remind Floridians that Scott is a very, very rich man with a very complicated and shady past involving business and money and a reputation for not being totally forthcoming. He also wants to remind Floridians that he, George Sheldon, exists and is running for a very important state-wide office.
The fact that the suit isn't completely frivolous only helps to bring more attention to it. In any event, its a better campaign move than that time Pam Bondi postponed an execution so she could attend a fundraiser.
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