After Saying ‘I Would Fight All Of The Stimulus Money,’ Rick Scott Profits Off The Stimulus

rickscott2Rick Scott, a disgraced hospital scam artist who led a dishonest crusade against health care reform, is currently the frontrunner in Florida’s Republican gubernatorial primary. In his campaign, he has vilified last year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, saying, “I would fight all of the stimulus money. He added that Florida “should not have accepted that money because we’re all going to have to pay for it, or our kids are going to have to pay for it at some point.” But Politico now reports that one of Scott’s companies “boasted of winning” millions in stimulus money:

A telecommunications company owned in part by Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott — an outspoken foe of the federal stimulus — has boasted of winning more than $60 million in stimulus grants and Dept. of Agriculture loans to develop high-speed internet infrastructure.

In a March 2010 press release, XFONE, Inc. President and CEO Guy Nissenson wrote to investors, “”As most of you know, Xfone has been focused on growing its Fiber-To-The-Premise (FTTP) business over the past two years, given the sizable opportunity to bring broadband to secondary and rural markets in the U.S. This strategy took a huge leap forward recently with the notification that our wholly-owned subsidiary PRIDE Network had been awarded $63.6 million in stimulus grants and long term loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).” A company monitoring report filed with the SEC in 2009 describes Nissenson, a founding partner, as one of two “controlling shareholders” and Scott as one of two “other major shareholders.”

According to the Palm Beach Post’s politics blog, 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” as the company’s stock price tripled.

Scott is, of course, only the latest conservative politician to join the rich tradition of stimulus hypocrisy, as ThinkProgress has extensively documented. This March, Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL), whose office Scott is seeking, assailed his fellow governors who “may have rather loudly condemned the stimulus money” while still “quietly accepting it.”

William Tomasko