In Florida, the Blue Wave may crash into a Tidal Wave of Money
Times are good for Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
He and his wife are awash in millions, and his fortunes are growing at a staggering rate. So, too, is the campaign war chest he is amassing for his run for U.S. Senate.
Scott the investor and Scott the fundraiser make one potent force. If a Senate seat can be bought, Scott is going to be hard to beat.
It’s complicated. The investment portfolios of millionaires usually are.
Being unfamiliar in the ways of high finance, I turned for insight to the Tallahassee Democrat, Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Tampa Bay Tribune and TCPalm. In summary:
- Scott is worth far more than anyone knew, at least $255 million, according the federally required financial disclosure statement released Friday. That’s a 56 percent gain over the previous year. While in office, he’s become the richest governor in state history. Sweet.
- The federal report allows candidates to estimate a range of assets. Scott’s net worth was estimated between $255 Million and $550 million. That’s some range.
- Under Florida law, the governor had not been required to disclose assets of his spouse. Now that he is running for Congress, however, he must disclose all his family’s assets.
- What did we learn? That Ann Scott held more than $173 million in assets that are outside of the blind trust intended to remove Gov. Scott from conflict of interest. A Tallahassee attorney is suing Scott him for “violating state financial disclosure laws by transferring much of his wealth into his wife’s accounts,” which can be influenced by the governor.” (See Financial disclosure)
- And in just one transaction, the sale of a Michigan plastics factory in which the Scotts had a 67% stake, netted them more than $500 million. Money begets money.
All those millions without breaking a sweat – that’s hard to do in Florida, especially if you have to work for a living.
The report renewed lingering questions of impropriety. Is Scott blind to the workings of the empire, or is he just blinding the public?
Another nagging question: As governor, did Scott’s portfolio include companies or sectors that do business in Florida? Of course. He owns as much as $500,000 in stocks in NextEra Energy Partners, the parent company of Florida Power & Light.
Oh what a tangled web they weave.
Scott’s formidable campaign warchest.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson raised nearly $4.4 million in the second quarter. Impressive.
But Scott crushed him, raising $10.7 million. He’s already splurging on advertising. And, ominously, he has yet to tap into his personal fortune.
Among his donors is America’s oil and gas industry. Scott received at least $880,000 from a super PAC that includes contributions from oil, gas and energy executives and employees.
And just this past weekend, the governor attended a donor summit in the Colorado Rockies, where GOP candidates kneeled at the altar of Charles and David Koch, monarchs of the donor class.
The Kochs, who are worth an estimated $150 billion, are prepared to spend $400 million in dark money on the midterm elections. In addition, they are prepared to spend $20 million on “messaging” — i.e. propaganda — to convince us what we already know not to be true: that the Trump’s tax giveaway to the rich and corporations is already helping the average family. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
We have a mountain of GOP money and mistruths to climb if Sen. Nelson is to be re-elected. So donate what you can. Help local fundraising efforts so that we can reach more voters.
Our priority must be to energize Democrats and non-affiliated voters who are already uneasy about the state of our nation. Polls show that women, millenials and minorities strongly sense that the country is going deeper into a morass of incompetence, lies and a harsh ideology that is tearing our social fabric. We must get them to the polls in November.
We must impress upon voters what is at stake for them and their loved ones. We must speak the truth. And we must offer a positive agenda:
- Affordable, quality healthcare for all
- Sensible gun control, including universal background checks
- Protecting voter rights, and fight the myriad Republican schemes to suppress the vote
- Tax and economic policies that truly help working families and encourage wage growth
- Quality public education for students across the demographic spectrum
- Protecting the environment. Science deniers no longer need to apply
- Protecting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own reproductive choices
- Focus on women’s issues, especially in the workplace.
- Comprehensive immigration reform
- Civil rights that extends to all, including the LGBT community
- Protect Medicare and block the GOP’s plan to cut Medicaid funding for nursing homes
Our agenda is in stark contrast to the regressive record of Gov. Scott. The choice is clear.
Scott will be heavily favored in Indian River County, given the Republican’s sizeable advantage over Democrats in voter registration. However, the statewide vote is expected to be close, so OUR votes could put Gov. Nelson over the top.
We CAN be the difference between victory and defeat.