On the campaign trail, Rick Scott — the former hospital executive who’s spending a fortune to run to the right of Bill McCollum in the Florida governor’s race — has been a vocal opponent of the economic stimulus package passed by Congress last year, all part of his strategy to appeal to tea party voters. But when it comes to his own budget, it turns out Scott saw his personal fortunes rise as a result of the spending.
Politico reports that XFONE, a telecom firm Scott owns a 15% stake in, bragged about the over $60 million in stimulus grants it won this year. The Palm Beach Post reports that the value of Scott’s stake in the company rose by $4 million thanks to the infusion of federal cash.Like so many state and local governments across the country, it seems, the stimulus helped Scott climb out of a financial hole caused by the decline in the stock market during the heights of the economic crisis. From the Post:
“[Scott] invested $10 million in the company in 2007 and 2008. He lost most of the value of that investment when the stock price dove. But after receiving the stimulus money, the value of Scott’s holdings increased by $4 million.”
XFONE was happy to spread the news when the federal check came due. The company got $63.6 million from a Department of Agriculture-managed stimulus fund aimed at increasing fiber optic network access across the country. From a press release on the company’s website posted in March:
“This funding is game changing, providing resources that will enable us to bring high speed broadband service to people who need it while driving cash flow and profits for shareholders.”
Scott, who is trying to woo the tea party vote with a blanket of TV ads, is likely less interested in talking about the millions he added to his already sizable fortune thanks to the stimulus.