From time to time an investigative news story comes along that every Floridian should read. Earlier this week, the Tampa Bay Times reported that many of Florida’s leading Republicans, including Gov. Rick Scott, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, and House Speaker Will Weatherford, have had a really sweet deal from the powerful sugar industry: free secret hunting junkets to King Ranch in Texas.
Apparently, Scott and his allies can’t satisfy their sweet tooth for massive corporate campaign contributions in Florida, so they have to let Big Sugar, the largest polluter of the Everglades, fly them to exclusive hunting trips in Texas and collect checks there also. The lengths to which Scott, the Republican Party, and Big Sugar have gone to shield these trips from the public only begs more questions – and outrage.
When you’re done reading, click here to share this story on Facebook and here to share on Twitter, and/or forward this Email to friends.
Friends of the Everglades president Alan Farago writes, "For twenty five years I've been involved in the struggle to protect our drinking water aquifer and Florida's Everglades from polluters. It is rare when an investigative report so clearly details Big Sugar operating as a shadow government."
The silence from Gov. Rick Scott in response to these revelations has been deafening. The excursions were never placed on Scott’s public schedule, and when asked repeatedly to comment, Scott refused to answer with any details.
Some officials have tried to pass off these hush-hush hunting vacations with Big Sugar lobbyists as party-sponsored “fundraising” outings, but the Republican Party of Florida does not mention the King Ranch trips in fundraising documents. Calling them “pay to play” seems more appropriate given how Scott and his allies have allowed sugar industry polluters to foul the Everglades and stick taxpayers with the tab to clean up their mess.
Why has Big Sugar been secretly providing Scott and his allies with free hunting trips to Texas? And why the utter lack of transparency by Scott, Republican leaders and their puppeteers at Big Sugar? The whole thing reeks of “bought and paid for” government at its worst – thanks for letting your fellow Floridians know.