Try tho' he might, Bill McCollum can't shake the scandal over the $120,000 his Attorney General's Office paid to George Alan Rekers, the antigay activist who was outed by New Times writers Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp last week.
McCollum tried to pin it on the Florida Department of Children and Families. But then these letters surfaced showing McCollum himself forcefully insisting that Rekers' testimony be heard in the state's effort to prevent adoption of children by gay people.
Knowing what we now know about Rekers and his affinity for sensual massages from young men, did he defraud McCollum?
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Maybe not in the strict legal sense: Rekers' "expertise" on gay people's behavior was academic in nature -- admittedly, a dubious academic nature -- and so his personal conduct wouldn't necessarily affect those qualifications. It's not like he lied on his résumé.
By the same token, there's little doubt at this point that Rekers himself is a fraud on a personal level -- and that activities in his private life annihilate whatever credibility he may have on a professional level.
Unfortunately for Florida taxpayers -- and for a McCollum campaign that would sure like to get that money back -- this fraud appears to have made a clean getaway.
But from a political standpoint, the episode displays an appalling lack of judgment on McCollum's part. Even had Rekers not been exposed, it was foolish and wasteful for McCollum to seek the doctor's "expert" testimony.