What’s with the Rick Scott Josh Cooper Connection?
Campaign consultant Josh Cooper and Governor Rick Scott have plenty to answer for. Joshua Cooper was paid more than $500,000 over the years by the Florida Governor.
Joshua Cooper founded a consulting company named “Strategic Information Consultants” in 2008. The company is registered as a full-service research and communication company specializing in political and corporate opposition research. The company carries out strategic fact-finding on behalf of its clients. The information is used by the clients for various business and political ends.
Before forming a strategic information consulting company, Cooper had formed a public relations consultancy firm – Next Generation Strategies. The public relations company has worked with such high-profile names as the political commentator and Republican Party’s chairman Pat Brad. The website states that the company represents customers in different industries including telecommunications, health care, energy, software, gaming, and the aviation sector.
Republican Party Association
Josh Cooper has been associated with Rick Scott and the Republican party for a long time. He worked as a research and communication director for the Regional National Committee. In addition, he served as a Victory Field Director for the Republican campaign in 2004. He had also spent two years as the special assistant to the secretary of transportation during the Bush presidency.
In the year 2011, Josh Cooper’s firm was criticized for receiving $25,000 of tax money for carrying out a background check of Governor Rick Scott’s staff. The task is generally assigned to a public law enforcement agency instead of a private firm.
Opposition party representatives such as Democrat party’s Eric Jotkoff criticized Governor Rick Scott and his consultant for breaking the Sunshine Laws by paying the hard-earned money of the taxpayer to political consultants. However, the spokesperson of the governor Brian Burgess has denied that the governor has broken any law by claiming that his office required the services.
3. Controversial Figure
Joshua Cooper recently gained notoriety due to a photo taken by his buddies of him appearing to be humping a mannequin while holding a large ice penis. However, he has denied any wrongdoing stating that the picture was taken from the wrong angle.
According to Joshua Cooper, the picture was an ill-timed photo that was taken by his friends at a barbecue competition. He said he was throwing away melting ice over the fence when one of his teammates took the picture.
He says that he picked up his team’s ice luge and one of his teammates took the picture as he was throwing away the melting piece of ice over the fence. His friend thought that the picture looked funny from that angle and posted it online.
The controversial photo that was posted online was deleted after being requested by Cooper. But he says his political opponents are recirculating the picture to discredit him.
Cooper insists that he was not doing what the picture implies. He believes that his political opponents are to blame for highlighting the picture that was taken some years back. The snapshot of him holding the oddly-shaped ice in front of a mannequin was taken in 2017. Cooper claims his opponents had engineered the resurfacing of the old pic.
Cooper says that the media attention to the picture is stupid. With so many real scandals regarding elected officials, he says that someone was trying to drive the attention of the public away.
4. Barbecue Team and Master Chef Contestant
Cooper is an expert chef and a member of the Barbecue team called the Swinos. The slogan according to the Twitter account of Swinos is, “Getting it mist, and keeping it there”.
He was attending a barbecue competition with his friends when the ill-timed picture was taken that caught the media attention recently.
Cooper was also a MasterChef contestant. He auditioned for the reality TV show in 2017 with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey. In that show, he had prepared a reverse-seared filet with shitake mushroom and gorgonzola sauce. But he was not selected for the Top 20 contestants of the show.
Cooper has described cooking as therapeutic in an interview with the Tallahassee Democrat. He confided that cooking is a big stress reliever for him. Cooper has been largely self-taught and generally cooks Southern barbecue. He says that there is a lot of science in cooking and creativity in serving the dishes. Moreover, he also plans to publish his barbeque cooking one day.
5. Cooper Lives with His Kids in Tallahassee
Cooper lives with his son and four daughters in Tallahassee. He says that his kids were the inspiration for his cooking. He started cooking with fresh ingredients as he did not like putting food out of the box and reheating it.
In an interview with the Tallahassee Democrat, he said that he uses unique ingredients to make his dishes. He prefers to make unique dishes using simple ingredients. If he can’t pronounce an ingredient, he won’t use it.
6. Top Campaign Consultant
Florida state record shows that Cooper is one of the top paid campaign consultants of Governor Rick Scott. He has been paid significant sums for his services. The records show that Republicans have paid his firm about $768,000 since 2012.
About $517,000 has been paid to Josh Cooper via Let’s Get to Work, which is Governor Rick Scott’s political action committee. Cooper has been paid directly or through his firms that include Strategic Information Consultants, Next Generation Strategies, and JTKE LLC.
Records show that Republicans have also paid a fee from the public fund. , Cooper was paid about $25,000 in 2011 for carrying out background checks including the criminal history of Governor Rick Scott’s prospective staff. The job is typically carried out by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and it is unclear why it was assigned to a private firm.