Florida Phoenix by Lloyd Dunkelberger
June 5, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a bill that will prevent wealthy state officials from hiding their assets from the public view while in office.
The measure (SB 702) repeals a law that allowed former Republican Gov. Rick Scott, the wealthiest governor in state history, to use a blind trust to shield his multi-million-dollar fortune.
Scott created the blind trust after he took office in 2011, arguing that the trust would prevent conflicts of interest problems with his official actions if he did not know the impact on his assets. Lawmakers passed a law validating the trust arrangement two years later.
But questions arose during Scott’s two terms in office as to how detached Scott was from his family’s finances, which continued to grow while he was governor. Legal and ethics challenges questioning the arrangement were not successful.
State Sen. Tom Lee, the Hillsborough County Republican who sponsored the repeal measure, said he believes all public officials should disclose their financial assets while in office.