Tampa Bay Times by Editorial Board
September 7, 2018
Finally. After Gov. Rick Scott has meticulously shielded his whereabouts from the public for years, a judge in Tallahassee has ordered him to turn over three months’ worth of travel, fundraising and meeting schedules. It’s about time.
Circuit Judge Charles Dodson rightly rejected Scott’s spurious argument that releasing the records would pose a security risk. The ruling comes in a lawsuit brought against Scott by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which sued in July and sought a complete copy of Scott’s calendars for the period beginning July 20 and ending Oct. 31. If Scott wants to claim that releasing his future schedule poses a security risk, there are ways to provide general locations without specifics. The argument collapses entirely when applied to events he has already attended.
This case is not about security, it’s about transparency, a value Scott has never embraced. The governor flies around the state in his own private plane and keeps the flight information and radar off of tracking websites. After eight years in office, the governor has only recently revealed the true scope of his wealth — not because he volunteered it but because federal campaign disclosure rules require it as a candidate for U.S. Senate.
Scott, of course, is appealing the judge’s ruling in favor of openness. His steadfast insistence to keep private so much of what he does in public office is not a practice voters should accept or reward.