Rick Scott's wealth dips after spending $65 million to win Florida Senate race

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U.S. Sen. Rick Scott is worth at least $166 million and likely much, much more, he reported on Tuesday, making him one of the richest members of Congress.

In his annual financial disclosures, Scott said he earned between $23 million and $113 million from his massive portfolio of investments that spans all sectors of the economy. A large chunk of that income came in the form of stock sales; Scott listed more than 500 assets he unloaded this past year.

But it appears the Republican’s wealth dropped considerably after he spent $65 million to defeat Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson in his U.S. Senate race last year.

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Disclosure rules only require senators to select income ranges for each asset (such as between $500,000 and $1 million), so it is difficult to determine Scott’s actual wealth. However, at a minimum he reported holdings of $166 million, which is $87 million less than last year’s minimum.

Similarly, Scott also listed more than 100 assets held by his wife, Ann Scott, which are worth $1 million or more, so his maximum wealth is also impossible to calculate. However, the couple could be worth as much as $352 million, if not more. That, too, is well below last year’s ceiling.

Still, it’s a total that would make him one of the five richest members of Congress, according to a 2018 analysis by Roll Call. He reported no debt or liabilities.

Meanwhile, Florida’s senior U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio, reported assets worth up to $355,000 and a mortgage of up to $1 million on his South Florida home.

“Sen. Scott is following the United States Senate’s extensive financial disclosure requirements in an open and transparent manner,” Scott spokeswoman Sarah Schwirian said. “Every decision he made as governor and every decision he makes as senator is based on what’s in the best interest of Florida families.”

Financial disclosures for Senators were due in May but Scott was granted an extension through Tuesday.

Scott’s fortune has been the subject of much intrigue over the years, both for how he earned it and the potential conflicts with his official duties as Florida’s governor and now a U.S. Senator.

The former health care executive built one of the country’s largest hospital networks. He resigned in 1997 amid a federal fraud investigation and left with $300 million in stock and options. Later, the the Department of Justice fined the company $1.7 billion for defrauding Medicare and other government health care programs.

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A political outsider, Scott came from relative obscurity to win the Republican primary for governor in 2010. In all, he spent about $75 million of his own money to capture the nomination and win the governor’s race over Democrat Alex Sink.

As governor, Scott put his assets in what he called a “blind trust,” though ethics experts said it fell well short of the definition and it mainly served to shield his investments from the public. His wife’s holdings were not in the trust, nor did he disclose her assets for most of his time as governor.

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The disclosure he filed last year to run for U. S. Senate was the first time he made public his wife’s investments. Unlike Florida law, which does not require Scott to disclose the assets of his spouse, he must disclose all his family’s assets to run for Congress, although the disclosure of his wife’s assets are not required to be as rigorous as his.

When Scott ran for Senate he chose to abandon his blind trust because, unlike federal law which allowed the governor to choose a trustee he knew and had worked with, the federal law prohibits blind trust managed by someone with a prior relationship to the elected official and all communication between them is forbidden. The blind trust Scott established while governor was managed by the senator’s former long-time financial adviser.

Earlier this year, Florida lawmakers eliminated the state law that allowed Scott to create his unique trust.

Times/Herald Tallahassee reporter Mary Ellen Klas contributed to this report.


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