This year the Florida Legislature passed a new blind trust law. The ink had not dried on Gov. Rick Scott’s signature before he decided to test the new law. Scott wanted to make sure the money he had made documented on his questionable personal portfolio was in line with the new law, a law that he and his Republican cronies helped write.
Rick Scott made sure he “stacked the deck” beforehand. According to the Tampa Bay Times, five of (the Ethics Commission) nine members (were) appointed by the governor. “The governor has hit all the requirements of the statute,” said the panel’s general counsel Christopher Anderson, who added that Scott was “ahead of the game” in 2011 and complies with the new law.
Scott asked for the commission’s opinion to ensure the blind trust complies with a new law. “The governor has hit all the requirements of the statute,” said Anderson.
The voting public conveniently forgets what Scott did. The Sun Sentinel reports that Scott perpetrated fraud that “ was and still is the biggest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history and ended with the hospital giant Columbia/HCA paying a record $1.7 billion in fines, penalties and damages.” Scott was co-founder and CEO of Columbia/HCA in the 1990s, when the FBI launched a massive, multi-state investigation that led to the company pleading guilty to criminal charges of overbilling the government.
If fines and penalties of $1.7 Billion are any indication that big money was made then one must think there was a lot of it. Medicare insurance fraud is big money and Rick Scott made a bunch of it. The Tallahassee Democrat indicated that the amount of money that may have been made, “When Scott first sought office, he reported a net worth of $218 million, while the filing he turned in earlier this summer showed that his net worth was nearly $84 million as of the end of 2012.”
The fact that Scott refuses to take any money for being governor, 12-cents a year, allows him to do, basically, whatever he wants when filling out financial disclosure forms. It seems doubtful the state of Florida’s Republican Legislature really cares what he makes. The state is saving $130,00 in salary per year. NorthEscambia.com reported that “Gov. Rick Scott was worth $83.77 million as he wrapped up his second year in office, according to a newly posted financial disclosure form. The blind trust, which accounts for $72.8 million, made $3.1 million in interest last year.”
Dan Krassner, executive director of Integrity Florida, questioned the independence of the blind trust since the company managing Scott’s account — Hollow Brook Wealth Management — included Scott’s portfolio manager for 10 years. An accountant at the company also worked for Scott for 12 years. Old cronies? It must depend on who’s asking.
The question here is not whether Scott is crooked but just how much of that crooked money did he keep? Think about it when standing in the voting booth next year.
Richard Andrew is a guest blogger for Ring of Fire.