‘Fiscal Conservative’ Gov. Rick Scott Uses $700,000 Of Taxpayer Money To Settle Lawsuit Against Him

In a very crowded field, Rick Scott is in the running for “Worst Governor In The Country.” His screw ups are both frequent and legendary. As a person, Scott is everything from petty to mean to self serving (sometimes all at once). He also wastes his state’s money like it’s his job. Which it isn’t. Just the opposite in fact.

Yet, Florida is once again footing the bill for one of their “fiscally conservative” governor’s adventures into criminal malfeasance – this time to the tune of $700,000 in taxpayer money.

Gov. Rick Scott was forced to settle seven different public records lawsuits after getting caught red handed creating illegal email accounts to hide communications between himself and his staffers that they had a legal obligation to make part of the public record. What was discussed in those emails? Who knows? Scott also refused to release the documents.

His brave defiance in the face of multiple state law violations may have to do with the fact that his ultimate endgame seemed to be to do whatever he wants and let his constituents pay for it. According to the Tampa Bay Times:

The settlement, first obtained by the Times/Herald Tallahassee bureau, is precedent-setting in that it is the first time in state history that a sitting governor and attorney general have been sued and agreed to settle allegations that they violated Florida’s public records laws. It is also the third legal defeat in recent months for the governor, and the second time he has agreed to use state dollars to end a Sunshine Law lawsuit against him. Also signing the agreement is Attorney General Pam Bondi.

“We settled, and it was the right thing to do for the state,” said Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz.

“It was the right thing to do for the state” is Scott’s administration’s way of saying “Hope you don’t mind that we helped ourselves to your money for our crimes!”

As mentioned, this isn’t even the first time that Scott’s done something like this. He has once before been accused of violating the law and had to pay for his legal settlement with tax dollars. However, Scott doesn’t just blow money on his frequent trips to the court room. The man who frequently bills himself as a “fiscal conservative”, and uses that label to visciously screw his state’s poorest residents by citing “costs”, has spent years burning through Florida’s treasury.

For those keeping score at home, Scott has cost his state millions on idiotic schemes, foolish conservative experiments, and mad attempts to hurt poor people. Like several of his fellow Republican governors, Scott rejected federal dollars for the Medicaid expansion in an effort to try to screw over President Obama. His petty fight with the president cost Floridians millions of dollars in Medicaid funding, and left the state struggling to pay the tab. (Scott later boasted about lying to the president about Medicaid in order to trick the White House into giving him more leeway while never intending to follow through with his end of the bargain.)

And then there was the “Obamacare killer” that he and his fellow Republicans designed to work as an alternative to the ACA. It cost around $800,000 to design – and signed up around 49 people. Not 49 thousand. Just 49. Total. Scott later blamed Obama for its failure.

But perhaps Scott’s greatest boondoggle was his attempt to both prove welfare is only helping drug addicts while also simultaneously enriching his own wife’s drug testing company. His administration implemented a now-infamous mandatory drug testing requirement for people who want to use food stamps. It failed spectacularly. In the few months the requirement was in place, a mere 2 percent of welfare recipients tested positive (mostly for marijuana). You’d probably find higher drug use in Scott’s own office. It proved enormously expensive, although it did make Scott’s wife’s company a good deal of money. Oh, and then it cost the state of Florida another $1.5 million in legal fees because it was – small oversight – outrageously illegal.

What’s galling in all of this is not just how incredibly wasteful Scott’s tenure as governor has been, but how two-faced he’s being. You don’t get to waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money on your legal fees and then complain because you think a pot head is getting too many food stamps. You can’t complain about how expensive Obamacare is and then try to replace it with an inferior program that costs more. In fact, the only welfare recipient who we can truly say doesn’t deserve what he’s getting is Scott himself. He’s treating his state’s treasury like a personal ATM, while bashing the poor. I would say Scott should be ashamed, but his behavior suggests he really isn’t capable of it.

Feature image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr