Herald Tribune by John Kennedy
June 4, 2019
TALLAHASSEE — A law created by the Republican-led Legislature that allowed then-Gov. Rick Scott to shield his multimillion dollar wealth from public view was stricken from the books Tuesday by his successor, Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis signed a measure (SB 702) approved unanimously by the Legislature that repeals a law created in 2013 that allowed public officials to put their assets in a blind trust, controlled by an appointed trustee.
The law was created for Scott and designed to blunt questions about conflicts of interest that could emerge when his public policy decisions as governor had a bearing on his finances.
Scott, though, came under fire for his blind trust — which had a former business associate serving as trustee and did not include assets held by his wife, Ann.
When Scott was forced to file a federal financial disclosure in advance of his election to U.S. Senate last year, it showed that his assets paralleled many of those owned by Ann, whose holdings were revealed for the first time. It showed the couple could be worth as much as $510 million.
GateHouse Media and other news organizations also reported that Scott and his wife held investments in drug companies, utilities, a credit fund and others that could have been affected by his administration’s policies.
DeSantis on Tuesday said that he didn’t feel that Scott abused the blind trust law.
“I’m certainly not suggesting he did,” DeSantis said. “I have no knowledge of what he did. But I read the legislation and I think it makes sense, so I will sign it.”