UPDATE: Oct. 16 –
Responding to rising media inquiries about whether he would release his 2013 federal income tax returns, Gov. Rick Scott Thursday made public the 34-page return filed with the IRS on Wednesday.
Gov. Scott and First Lady Ann Scott jointly reported $8.2 million in adjusted gross income, including $3.6 million in capital gains from the sale of various securities and another $5.2 million in interest and dividends. Those numbers include earnings in Gov. Scott’s state qualified blind trust.
The couple reported no earnings from wages. Scott, who declared a net worth of $132.7 million in June, has declined the state salary that goes with his office.
The Scotts received a six-month extension to file their 2013 tax return in April. The extension expired Wednesday. Asked yesterday whether the return was now filed, and whether it would be made public, two of the governor’s aides refused to respond.
In a brief statement Thursday afternoon, Scott campaign spokesman Greg Blair, one of those aides, said the Republican governor had decided to release the return “in the interest of full transparency.”
Charlie Crist, the governor’s Democratic opponent in next month’s general election, made his 2013 federal income tax return public in June.
By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org
Oct. 15 – Like many other U.S. taxpayers, Gov. Rick Scott asked for an automatic six-month extension to file a joint tax return for himself and his wife that’s due April 15. The extension ran out Wednesday.
Whether the Scott’s now have filed their 2013 tax return, and whether they will make it public, is anyone’s guess.
Spokesmen for the governor’s executive office in Tallahassee and his re-election campaign would not respond to questions about the matter on Wednesday.
“No,” said campaign spokesman Greg Blair when asked later whether there would be any response to BrowardBulldog.org’s inquiries about the status of the Scott’s 2013 tax return.
Blair’s clipped reply marked a departure from the governor’s public position on June 16 when, as he qualified to run for re-election, he released the couple’s joint tax returns for 2010, 2011 and 2012. Scott also explained then that his 2013 return wasn’t available because he’d requested an extension to file.
Scott went on to chide his Democratic rival, ex-Gov. Charlie Crist, to release his tax returns.
“I think he ought to do that right away so every citizen in the state can look at that and because transparency is good for everybody,” Scott told the Miami Herald.
Nine days later, Crist released his tax returns for 2010-2013. Crist, who is married but files a separate return from his wife, Carole, reported an adjusted gross income of $541,000 in 2013.
That included wages of $295,000 for work in the Tampa office of the Morgan & Morgan law firm; $46,000 in state pensions payments; and $358,000 from work as a consultant and author. Crist listed his consulting clients as Miami-based Coastal Construction Group and the St. Joe Company, a large real estate developer based in the Panhandle. His total tax paid: $197,000.
SCOTT’S NET WORTH: $132.7 MILLION
While Scott has yet to disclose his 2013 tax return, he did file in June a Form 6 “Full and Public Disclosure of Financial Interest” for 2013 in which he declared a net worth of $132.7 million and provided a detailed list of his assets.
The governor’s asset list was the first he’d made public since placing his financial assets into a so-called Florida blind trust in April 2011. The governor did that to ensure he qualified to run for a second term, then immediately placed his assets into another blind trust that under Florida law affords him immunity from prohibited conflicts of interest.
BrowardBulldog.org reported in March that Florida’s blind trust law, and Scott’s own blind trust, have been ineffective in keeping the governor’s assets secret. One reason: Florida’s statute, signed into law by Gov. Scott in 2013, was said to be modeled on the federal blind trust law, yet omits more than a dozen federal requirements intended to “assure true blindness.”
The asset list showed that Gov. Scott owned a stake in a Houston company, Spectra Energy, that was chosen by Florida Power & Light to build and operate the $3 billion Sabal Trail Transmission – a controversial 474-mile natural gas pipeline that’s to run from Alabama and Georgia to a hub near Orlando.
Likewise, the list showed that as of Dec. 31 the governor had invested several million dollars in the securities of about two dozen other entities that produce and/or transport natural gas – including some, like Spectra, with substantial Florida operations.
Florida’s ethics laws generally prohibit public officials from owning stock in businesses subject to their regulation, or that do business with state agencies.
Scott spokesman Greg Blair has said that Scott has no knowledge of his investment in Spectra Energy or the other entities “because his decision to invest was made by a trustee of the blind trust.”
The trustee is New York’s Hollow Brook Wealth Management whose chief executive is longtime Scott crony Alan Bazaar.