Governor Rick Scott's signature Navy hat is the star of a recent political ad. The blue hat with "Navy" in bold yellow letters is at the center of an attack ad against the Republican senate candidate that casts a negative light on his record in the health care industry and his support of veterans. We're verifying if those claims are true.
"I see Rick Scott wearing that Navy hat everywhere he goes. But, let me tell you what he did to veterans..." Alan Madison says while staring at the camera.
The ad features Navy veteran Alan Madison. He accuses Governor Scott's former company of defrauding the military's healthcare program.
"Governor, this hat represents what the Navy stands for, honor and integrity. My question for you sir...where is yours?" Madison asks in the ad.
According to Governor Scott's official bio, he served active duty aboard the USS Glover as a radar man. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Scott enlisted in the Navy in 1979 and served 29 months. But, this ad isn't disputing his military service. It's questioning what happened years later.
"His hospital stole millions, defrauding the military's healthcare program. Scott pled the fifth and walked away with the fortune and today's he's worth more than 200 million bucks," Madison says in the ad.
Scott is the former CEO of Columbia/HCA , which became the largest private for profit healthcare company in the United States. In 1997, federal agents announced an investigation was underway. Scott resigned a few months later after it all became public. According to a news release from the Department of Justice in 2003, The company was accused of submitting false claims to Medicare and other federal health programs, including Tricare, which serves the military. In 2000, the company pled guilty to substantial criminal conduct and paid more than $800 million in criminal fines, civil restitution and penalties.
Our verify team contacted Governor Scott's campaign representatives and they told our team they addressed the claim in this recent political ad.
The ad was produced by VoteVets, a liberal political action veterans group. Senator Bill Nelson's campaign has denied having anything to do with the ad.
In Scott's defense, campaign representatives provided statements from veterans. One vet saying "Actions speak louder than words and Governor Scott has delivered on his promise to make Florida the most veteran and military friendly state in the nation."
This is what we can verify for you:
The company formerly run by Governor Scott did settle with the government for healthcare fraud, but Scott stepped down before the company reached a settlement. In past interviews, Scott's campaign representatives said he took accountability for the company's mistakes. We say the claims in this ad are mostly TRUE, but it's up to you to decide how much blame should be placed on the Governor.