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Scott’s lobbyist returns to old firm

by John Kennedy | September 4th, 2012

Rick Scott’s top lobbyist, who shepherded the governor’s policies through a frequently wary Legislature the past two years, is rejoining his old Tallahassee lobbying firm.

Jon Costello, who announced his departure from Scott’s office last month, is returning to Rutledge, Ecenia and Purnell, the firm said Tuesday. Scott has said he plans also to appoint Costello to the position of board member on the Northwest Florida Water Management District.

“We are extremely excited that Jon is returning to the firm to lead the governmental affairs practice,” said Gary Rutledge, the firm’s president.  “As an early policy advisor to candidate Rick Scott, and later the Governor’s top lobbyist through two successful legislative sessions, Jon has proven himself to be one of the most informed and effective advocates in Florida.”

The lobbying firm counts among its clients HCA Healthcare, a corporate descendant of the Columbia/HCA hospital chain Scott helped found and lead and which remains a pivot point in the governor’s resume. The firm paid $1.7 billion to the federal government three years after Scott left to resolve allegations of Medicare and Medicaid fraud, while not admitting any wrongdoing.

The Rutledge firm also represents dog tracks, Kraft Foods, Florida electric cooperatives and cable television interests.

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