Florida law mandates that the Governor place his personal investments in a blind trust while in office. The Governor is not allowed to discuss his investments with the trustee. However, under Florida law, the Governor’s wife can continue to manage her own investments. What happens when the Governor and his wife are invested in the same things?
The Ethical Consideration
Florida Governor Rick Scott has held his post for about 8 years. Per Florida law, the Governor must disclose his assets (investments) and place them in a “blind trust” for the entirety of his service. This is designed to avoid conflicts of interest. In theory, the Governor could let his personal interest influence his legislative agenda if he knew it could help or hurt him financially.
Florida law does not require the Governor’s wife to disclose and relinquish control of her assets. As you may be aware, Governor Rick Scott is running for Senate this year. Federal law requires that the candidate and the candidate’s spouse reveal their personal finances and interests. When Governor Scott’s wife revealed her investments, it was discovered that they were almost exactly the same as her husband’s.
Is This Illegal?
Well, the act of just having the same investments as one another is not illegal. One could argue that it would be very easy for the couple to coordinate each other’s investments since the first lady controls her own. The blind trust is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the Governor while he is in office. If the first lady’s investments are managed by the same group, it is conceivable that the first lady could relay information to her husband regarding the investments.
A spokesperson for the family released a statement that says “Governor Scott has never made a single decision as governor with any thought or consideration of his personal finances”. If an investigation uncovers that Governor Scott’s blind trust made changes to his portfolio and those changes were linked to legislative changes, Governor Scott could face insider trading charges.
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