Case seeking to open Governor’s blind trust continues

(Photo Credit: Shealah Craighead / MGN)
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - An effort to require Governor Rick Scott to reveal his investments in his blind trust got a hearing before an appellate court Tuesday.

Big-time Democratic donor Don Hinkle filed a complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics asking it to look into the Governor’s blind trust.

“You know, his last enterprise pled guilty to seven felonies. So maybe we should be able to check his homework here,” said Hinkle.

The complaint was thrown out.

Since then he’s been fighting his way through the courts.

Hinkle says because the commission never did a deep dive into the details, there’s no way of knowing if the trust is actually blind.

“The ethics commission didn't even gather the documents. They just summarily dismissed it,” said Hinkle.

The Governor on Monday maintained his blind trust is indeed truly blind.

“When I got elected I did a variety of things. One: I set up, put all my assets in a blind trust,” said Scott. "So I don't know how they invested the dollars.”

The Governor’s attorneys asked a lower court to dismiss the case.

It refused.

Now the Governor is appealing that decision.

The Governor argues the ethics commission should have had the final say.

“Complaints to the commission are the method of implementing the people's mandate of ethics in government,” said the Governor’s lawyer, Daniel Nordby.

Hinkle says citizens should have the option of going through the courts.

“I just urge the court not to allow the Commission on Ethics to say, 'We're not considering this,' and that be the end of the road,” said Hinkle.

The Governor will be required to reveal the contents of his and his wife’s blind trusts in less than a month as part of his U.S. Senate bid.

Hinkle says the outcome of the case could have impacts on future Governors and all elected officials.

If the appellate court upholds the previous decision to allow the case to proceed, the case will go back to the circuit court.

A final decision won’t likely come before the federal financial disclosure deadline.