Despite turning down his government salary, Governor Rick Scott’s net worth has increased nearly 25% in the last year to $149 million, based on financial disclosures filed with state. Despite disclosing such a large net worth and such a dramatic increase in the last year, critics claim he has not reported all of his assets. An ethics complaint was filed in April by Tallahassee attorney Don Hinkle, claiming that all assets have not been disclosed because Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) records showed that Scott was in control of a partnership set up with his wife. A joint tax return for the same year shows that the couple claimed they earned millions more than the governor reported as his individual earnings. Some of the increase may be explained by the fact that the stock market is on the rise in general, resulting in many of those at the top who make most of their income from investments rather than wages, like Rick Scott, to profit greatly.
This complaint was dismissed during a private meeting of the Florida Commission on Ethics. The Commission claims that Scott has properly followed procedures that allow him to use a blind trust to prevent conflicts-of-interest. Conveniently, proceedings “related to a complaint, referral or preliminary investigation conducted by the Commission on Ethics” are exempted from Florida’s open meeting, “Government in the Sunshine” laws, unless “the alleged violator requests in writing that such records and proceedings be made public.” Fla. Stat. 112.324(2)(c). That’s right. Rick Scott would have to request the records be opened.