April 12, 2018
For Immediate Release
Contact: Sebastian Kitchensebastian@floridadems.org
Rick Scott dodging responsibility and questions as offshore drilling ruse exposed yet again As Rick Scott travels to Sarasota and Riviera Beach today, more revelations and more questions about his offshore drilling stunt and his role as chair of a federal Super PAC to skirt campaign finance laws are reminding Floridians just why they can't trust Rick Scott and his self-serving politics. Florida Democratic Party spokesman Sebastian Kitchen released the following statement: “Rick Scott is stopping in two coastal communities today as his willingness to play political games with offshore drilling is exposed once again. After their political stunt that misled Floridians into believing Florida was safe from offshore drilling, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reiterated yet again that Florida was not exempt from offshore drilling, further proving this was nothing but an elaborate plan to help Rick Scott in his run for U.S. Senate. Once again, Scott has shown he'll do and say anything to get elected, even if it threatens Florida’s most valuable resource.” Rick Scott's Worrisome Wednesday:Along with Zinke saying again Wednesday that Florida was not exempt from offshore drilling, a political committee filed a complaint against the secretary for violating federal law by using government resources “to partake in blatant political activity” to help Rick Scott in an election year, according to Politico.
“‘Hours of government time and resources were spent on this event by Secretary Zinke and his staff, all 'choreographed' to help Governor Scott in his campaign for U.S. Senate,’ Woodhouse wrote.”
“A review by POLITICO in March of more than 1,200 records showed that top officials from the offices of both Scott and the Interior secretary were in regular contact for several days leading up to the sudden announcement, contradicting the supposed spontaneous event that portrayed Scott as protecting Florida's environment.”
"This is a political stunt orchestrated by the Trump administration to help Rick Scott, who has wanted to drill off Florida's coast his entire career," Nelson said. "We shouldn’t be playing politics with the future of Florida.”
Rick Scott’s Early Gift From Trump Team May Create More Problems Than It’s Worth, 4/11/2018, HuffPost
“‘It appears to have been an attempt to inoculate Rick Scott against his previous pro-drilling stance — an attempt that has gone somewhat awry and left a lot of ambiguity and unanswered questions,’ Stipanovich said.”
“The trip, which POLITICO Florida revealed was orchestrated well in advance, seemed aimed at helping Scott garner support among environmentalists and boosting his chances against Nelson in November.”
“But at a Senate hearing in March, Zinke walked back his initial comments on Florida, saying ‘Florida is still in the process.’ And last week, at an offshore wind energy forum in New Jersey, he told The Associated Press that ‘no one was exempted.’”
“And last week, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) called on the United States Office of Special Counsel to investigate whether Zinke’s Florida trip violated a federal law prohibiting government employees from engaging in political activities.”
“Scott — who rejects the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by humans and as governor slashed the budget of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection — has apparently realized that environmental issues could play big in the Senate election.”
As a reminder, PolitiFact ruled Scott’s change of position on offshore drilling a full flop. Rick Scott disclaims responsibility for federal elections complaint about ‘New Republican PAC’, 4/11/18, Florida Politics.
"On Tuesday, the political action committee “End Citizens United” charged Scott with using “his position as chair of the New Republican PAC, a federal Super PAC, to skirt campaign finance laws by fundraising without formally ‘testing the waters’ for a Senate bid.”
The complaint contends that the PAC was ultimately an arm of the Scott campaign.
"It does not appear as if Scott has relinquished his role as Chair of the Committee since declaring his federal candidacy,” the complaint continues, adding that Scott has paid consultants out of the PAC since May 2017.
We asked Scott about fundraising for the New Republican PAC in February; he had little to say about it at the time. As was his tendency, he said that all questions about a Senate campaign should be left to the “pundits.”