Ausley debuts new adby John Lantigua | October 13th, 2010
Democratic candidate for chief financial officer Loranne Ausley introduced a new television ad Tuesday that rips her opponent, Republican Jeff Atwater, for what it calls “pay to play contracts” issued under his watch as Senate president.
The ad depicts an actor playing Atwater in the office of the Senate president welcoming a series of visitors who each hand him an envelope and shake hands enthusiastically. A voice over enumerates instances of what the Ausley campaign considers questionable spending decisions in which Atwater participated.
Those instances include $48 million spent on a new 1st District Court of Appeals courthouse in Tallahassee, which has been attacked for its luxurious details and is derisively called “the Taj Mahal.”
Despite the scene depicted in the ad, the bond for the project was voted on by the Senate in 2007, before Atwater was Senate president. A recent audit ordered by current CFO Alex Sink blamed the exhorbitant price of the building on lack of control by the Department of Management Services and the judges themselves who requested the lavish construction details.
Other expenditures attacked by Ausley include $110 million for a private prison and $100,000 for a golf museum .
“It’s time to clean up Tallahassee,” Ausley says in the ad as supporters are seen in the background holding mops.
“It looks like we’re going to need more mops,” she says in closing.
Brian Hughes, spokesperson for Atwater, said Ausley had her facts wrong in the ad. He said Atwater was not Senate president when either the courthouse or prison appropriations were passed.
“And creating a visual that implies that a crime was committed, that someone shoved wads of cash into a jacket pocket, is despicable,”Hughes said. “It shows you how desperate they are.”