Florida Republican governor and U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott is running neck and neck with Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson right now—which is about as good a position as one can expect to be in considering how deeply unpopular President Donald Trump is in Florida. A pair of stories which landed Wednesday, though, sure as hell aren’t going to help him.
This morning, The Young Turks reported that, a week after the CEO of a Wall Street equity firm donated half a million dollars to Rebuilding America Now, a pro-Trump super PAC chaired by Scott, the state-run Florida State Board of Administration—which manages the state’s pension system, and of which Scott is one of three trustees—invested $200 million with that firm. Per TYT:
The transactions came in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. Scott, a Republican, ran the pro-Trump super PAC at the same time he served as a trustee of the Florida agency, the State Board of Administration (SBA). The SBA manages the state’s investments, about 80% of which are for the state pension fund’s one million members and retirees.
On September 26 of that year, Stephen Feinberg, the CEO of the sprawling private-equity firm Cerberus, donated $500,000 to Rebuilding America Now, Scott’s pro-Trump super PAC. On October 2, one week later, the SBA made a $200 million commitment to a high-fee, high-risk Cerberus fund, Cerberus FSBA Levered Loan Opportunities Fund, LP., according to a statement from the SBA.
Feinberg made another $975,000 contribution to Scott’s super PAC one month later, on November 3, making Feinberg its fifth-largest donor.
Incredibly, the Young Turks notes, these donations don’t violate any state or federal laws, although they are surely shady as fuck. The SBA, however, denied that the investment was politically motivated.
“Neither the Trustees nor their appointed members to the Investment Advisory Council (IAC) are involved in the selection of investments,” SBA spokesman John Kuczwanki told The Young Turks. “Any suggestion that politics influenced the SBA’s investment decision on the Cerberus FSBA Levered Loan Opportunities Fund is baseless and without merit.”
The Cerberus story, however, wasn’t the only bit of bad news Scott received today. Scott, a millionaire former CEO of a healthcare company which essentially robbed Medicare blind while he was running it, set up a so-called “blind trust” for his finances when he first took office in 2011. But the New York Times reported today that the trust wasn’t, ah, very “blind” at all.
From the Times (emphasis mine):
To shield himself from future conflict charges, Mr. Scott, who is now running to unseat the incumbent senator Bill Nelson, created a $73.8 million investment account that he called a blind trust. But an examination of Mr. Scott’s finances shows that his trust has been blind in name only. There have been numerous ways for him to have knowledge about his holdings: Among other things, he transferred many assets to his wife and neither “blinded” nor disclosed them. And their investments have included corporations, partnerships and funds that stood to benefit from his administration’s actions.
Only in late July, when compelled by ethics rules for Senate candidates, did Mr. Scott disclose his wife’s holdings. That report revealed that his wife, Ann Scott, an interior decorator by trade, controlled accounts that might exceed the value of her husband’s. Their equity investments largely mirrored each other, meaning that Mr. Scott could, if he wanted, track his own holdings by following his wife’s.
Scott responded to the Times’ revelation pretty much exactly the way an entitled brat worth between a quarter and half a billion dollars would:
Mr. Scott declined to be interviewed for this article. But in a statement provided by his campaign, he said, “I have never made a single decision as governor with any thought or consideration of my personal finances.” He added, “I will not apologize for having success in business.”
According to FEC filings, Scott has raised nearly $54 million in his run for Senate, almost $39 million of which was contributed by a Florida man named Rick Scott. So don’t worry about it—all of this is exactly what a functioning democracy is supposed to look like.