Rick Scott Touts Campaign on State Trip Overseas While Florida Under Storm Watch

With Rick Scott using his taxpayer-funded trip to promote his campaign and traveling abroad while a storm moves north in the Gulf, Florida Democratic Party spokesman Sebastian Kitchen released this statement:

“Rick Scott’s self-serving priorities could not be any clearer as he travels abroad at taxpayer expense touting his campaign while the National Hurricane Center is watching a storm in the Gulf that could affect hundreds of thousands of Floridians. Scott is campaigning full-time despite the storm, scandals, reports of mismanagement and rampant cronyism.”

Rick Scott’s last trip to Israel cost taxpayers $144,000.

This trip comes as there are more reports of Scott “all but shuttering the governor’s office to campaign” and questioning “how well is Florida working” under Scott. Scott also appointed his former travel aide to run emergency management and his former graphics designer as the second highest-paid employee there. Scott has been under scrutiny for his handling of the last hurricane season, when he sent calls pleading for help from nursing homes where 14 people eventually died to voicemail. He later deleted the evidence.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Opening month of Florida’s U.S. Senate race a tale of contrasts

  • “Scott apparently is putting state government on auto-pilot.”
  • “Several state government issues that have attracted attention in recent weeks also are prompting questions about Scott spending so much time campaigning.”
  • “A budget shortfall at the Department of Corrections, a federal audit critical of the state’s oversight of nursing homes, and a misleading report about state Medicaid cuts have dragged the administration into the headlines recently.”

Tampa Bay Times: Rick Scott’s campaign-first strategy: Will it work?

  • “While Scott was raising campaign money in Dallas this week, his Department of Corrections was cancelling or reducing three dozen contracts for inmate re-entry, substance abuse and probation services.”
  • “‘For five years, it has been one crisis after another,’ Matt Puckett of the Florida Police Benevolent Association said of the prison system during Scott’s seven-plus years.”
  • “Politico reported that Scott’s office was unaware of a time lag that could result in someone with a mental illness to obtain a gun because of delays in nearly 20 percent of mental health records being entered into a background check database.”
  • “Also this week, Scott’s Medicaid agency was forced to acknowledge that it gave wrong information to the federal government that the state received no opposition to proposed cuts to Medicaid.”
  • “‘They didn’t tell the truth,’ said Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, who questioned the state’s action.”
  • “Gibson said Scott’s schedule shows he’s focused mainly on getting elected to the Senate. ‘He is done being governor,’ she said.”

Politico: Top DEM hire has no disaster management experience but has ties to Scott

  • “A former aide to Gov. Rick Scott with no experience in disaster management has been hired to a top job with the state agency responsible for preparing millions of Floridians for hurricane season.”
  • “DEM isn’t the only agency to hire employees who perhaps offer much more loyalty to Scott than actual experience in the job.”
  • “Scott appointed Wes Maul to DEM‘s job last September, three weeks after Hurricane Irma devastated the majority of the state. Maul had come to DEM from the governor’s office, where he was Scott’s traveling aide. He replaced Bryan Koon, who had extensive experience in the field.”