Monday, March 11, 2019

Florida lawmakers want to block public officials from using blind trusts like Rick Scott

Posted By on Mon, Mar 11, 2019 at 12:41 PM

  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
After lengthy controversy – and litigation – about former Gov. Rick Scott’s use of a blind trust, a Senate committee Tuesday is slated to take up a proposal that would block public officials from placing their assets in blind trusts in the future.

The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee is scheduled to consider a bill (SB 702), filed by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, that would repeal part of state law that has allowed such use of blind trusts.

Scott, the wealthiest governor in state history, put his assets in a blind trust, contending that it would prevent potential conflicts of interest. But in doing so, he also did not have to detail his specific investments and business interests for much of his time as governor – a requirement that other officials face when they file annual financial-disclosure forms.

Tallahassee attorney Don Hinkle filed a lawsuit aimed at requiring Scott to disclose more information about his assets, but the 1st District Court of Appeal in November blocked the case.

Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, filed a House bill (HB 6041) last week that also seeks to repeal the blind-trust law.

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