Fla. hired law firm with ties to Gov. Scott

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Florida has spent nearly a half-million dollars - and could spend even more - with a large, well-known law firm that has connections to both the Republican Party of Florida as well as Gov. Rick Scott.

Since August the state has paid nearly $400,000 to the law firm of Alston and Bird to defend a new state law that requires public employees to contribute 3 percent of their pay to the state pension fund.

The firm was hired at the urging of the Scott administration which asked Attorney General Pam Bondi to approve paying the firm hourly rates at $495 an hour or nearly $300 more than what is normally allowed.

The Scott administration and Bondi have defended the hiring of the firm, saying it specializes in the kind of litigation that the state is now involved in.

But the firm's roster also includes a one-time business associate of Scott.

While not working directly on the lawsuit, a senior counsel with the firm's Washington D.C. office is Thomas Scully. Scully is also a general partner with the New York investment firm of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe. That's the investment firm that this June purchased Scott's shares in Solantic, a chain of urgent care clinics the governor started back in 2001.

Scully, who once led the Federation of American Hospitals, was appointed to the board of directors of Solantic back in 2008.

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