Rick Scott is bankrolling the same GOP incumbents he wants to term-limit out of a job


Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has called for a strict 12-year term limit for members of Congress.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) wants to prohibit anyone from serving more than 12 years in the Senate. But as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, he has also given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the reelection campaigns of GOP colleagues who have already occupied their Senate seats that long or longer.

Scott released a controversial 11-point "Rescue America" road map in February for what his party will do if it regains a majority in the 2022 midterm elections. Among those priorities are "Enact term limits for the Washington ruling class – 12-year limits for Congress and government bureaucrats. (Exceptions for national security reasons only.)"

He is also an original co-sponsor of a proposed constitutional amendment that would strictly limit senators to two six-year terms.

"Career politicians are never going to make the tough choices needed to get our nation on a successful path. They care more about politics and their next election than the future of this country. That has to end now," Scott said in a statement in January 2021. "We need to reimagine government and term limits are the right place to start.”

But both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Scott's Let's Get to Work leadership PAC have given large sums of campaign cash for the 2022 midterms to reelect Republican Senate incumbents who have already hit that 12-year cap.

The NRSC, the campaign arm of the Senate Republican Conference, has reported making hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to Republican senators so far this cycle. Every one of them has served at least two terms.

It gave $46,500 to Utah Sen. Mike Lee and $46,200 to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; both are seeking third terms despite also being co-sponsors of the amendment imposing a two-term limit.

It sent $46,500 to Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who is breaking his promise to voters not to seek a third term in the Senate.

It even gave $46,500 to Iowa's Chuck Grassley, who was first elected to the Senate in 1980 and is running for an eighth term.

It also gave five-figure donations to second-term Arkansas Sen. John Boozman ($46,500) and second-term Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford ($46,500).

Scott's leadership PAC also gave $10,000 donations — the legal maximum — to Boozman, Grassley, Lankford, and Lee. It gave the same amount to fourth-term Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, third-term South Dakota Sen. John Thune, second-term North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, second-term Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, second-term Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (KY), and retiring second-term Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt.

A spokesperson for Scott and the National Republican Senatorial Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Scott's plan, which has been endorsed in whole or in part by several GOP incumbents and candidates, also calls for a significant tax increase on more than 100 million Americans and a sunset clause to make all federal laws — including entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security — expire every five years.

Scott has faced criticism from many in his own party for running the NRSC in a way they say benefits himself and diverts money away from other Republicans.

“The Russians have been doing better with their project than he has," Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, a prominent right-wing operative, told the Washington Post. A Post source reacted to the NRSC's terse endorsement of Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska's reelection campaign with, "Rick Scott seems to care a lot more about his political future than the Senate incumbents he is supposed to be working for."

Scott responded to the criticisms by dismissing those who make them.

"I've been up here for three years," he said. "Do you know how many people have come to me and asked me, before they vote, what my opinion is on something and whether it's good for my state? That would be zero. ... People attacked me my whole life. You know, get in line."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.