ICYMI: Tampa Bay Times – Rick Scott’s outsider image as Senate candidate clashes with Florida reality

Contact: Chris Hayden


ICYMI: Tampa Bay Times – Rick Scott’s outsider image as Senate candidate clashes with Florida reality

Washington, D.C. (June 1, 2018) – SMP released the following statement drawing attention to today’s Tampa Bay Times article on how Rick Scott’s outsider image does not match his actions as governor.

“Gov. Scott is spending millions of dollars trying to deceive Floridians about his record, but the facts speak for themselves,” said Chris Hayden, spokesman for SMP. “He has pulled in record amounts of special interest cash, rewarded political cronies and operated in a cloud of secrecy”

All of the ways the Tampa Bay Times calls out Rick Scott for being a political insider:

  • Rick Scott is “a two-term incumbent with a long and controversial record of thriving in Tallahassee.”
  • Rick Scott’s “not the same guy he was in 2010,’ says Phil Handy, a Republican business executive in Winter Park. ‘I consider him much more a part of the establishment, especially in the way he raises money.’”
  • Rick Scott has “pulled in special interest cash like no governor before him”
  • He’s “stocked state government with friends”
  • He’s “Drawn charges of cronyism”
  • Rick Scott “regularly socializes with top lobbyists”
  • “Scott and the special interests that control Tallahassee soon closed ranks and helped create a fundraising colossus that’s the envy of most other politicians and has eclipsed the Republican Party of Florida, with six-figure donors that comprise a who’s who of insiders, from Florida Power & Light to Big Sugar to Disney.”
  • Money fuels the political “swamp,” but Scott has not moved to curtail its influence and arguably enabled it to grow.
  • After spending more than $70 million of his own money to win his first term, he welcomed the help of special interest dollars to win a second term and inspired a trend in others.
  • During Scott’s tenure, political committees like his $58 million Let’s Get to Work fund and its unlimited donations have proliferated in the Legislature, greatly expanding the amount of money in the political system.
  • He’s traveled to Washington often to raise money alongside quintessential insiders such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and lobbyist Haley Barbour.
  • Scott has not used his enormous power to question a revolving-door culture in which lawmakers and staff members become lobbyists, trading on their relationships.
  • Nor has Scott been a model of transparency in the Sunshine State. He was forced to spend $700,000 of taxpayer money to settle lawsuits over use of private email accounts for public business.
  • He was forced to apologize for orchestrating the private ouster of the state’s top law enforcement official, Gerald Bailey, an action that triggered a lawsuit by Florida news organizations and a settlement that required greater openness in how the Cabinet operates.
  • Scott…has followed one of the oldest rules in the playbook by appointing political insiders to powerful positions, in some cases multiple times.