U.S. Sen. Rick Scott is worth at least $166 million and likely much, much more, according to a disclosure report he filed Tuesday, making him one of the richest members of Congress.
The Florida Republican’s investments include holdings in defense contractors and in a telecommunications company, according to his annual financial disclosure. Scott serves on Senate committees that regulate those industries.
Scott’s disclosure also showed he and his wife, Ann, have potentially tens of millions of dollars invested in private funds run by the Scotts’ former financial advisers, effectively allowing him to circumvent disclosure requirements.
In all, Scott reported earning between $23 million and $113 million last year from his massive portfolio of investments that spans all sectors of the economy. A large chunk of that income came in the form of stock sales; Scott listed more than 500 assets he unloaded in 2018.
But it appears the Republican’s wealth dropped considerably after he spent $65 million to defeat Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson in his U.S. Senate race last year.
Disclosure rules require only that senators select income ranges for each asset (such as between $500,000 and $1 million), so it is difficult to determine Scott’s actual wealth. However, he reported household holdings of at least $166 million, which is $87 million less than last year.
Similarly, Scott listed more than 100 assets held by Ann Scott, which are worth $1 million or more, so his maximum wealth is also impossible to calculate. However, the couple could be worth as much as $352 million, if not more. That, too, is well below last year’s ceiling.
Still, it’s a total that would make him one of the five richest members of Congress, according to a 2018 analysis by Roll Call.
Florida’s senior U.S. senator, Marco Rubio, earlier this year reported assets worth up to $355,000 and a mortgage of up to $1 million on his South Florida home.
“Sen. Scott is following the United States Senate’s extensive financial disclosure requirements in an open and transparent manner,” Scott spokeswoman Sarah Schwirian said. “Every decision he made as governor and every decision he makes as senator is based on what’s in the best interest of Florida families.”
Financial disclosures for senators were due in May, but Scott was granted an extension through Tuesday.
Scott’s fortune has been the subject of much intrigue over the years — for how he earned it, how he has shielded it from public view and the potential conflicts with his official duties as Florida’s governor and now senator.
Scott faced scorn from Nelson and other Democrats during the Senate race for his trust as reports emerged about his financial ties to businesses involved in the state. For example, Scott and his wife invested at least $5 million in a hedge fund that owned 7 million shares of stock in Conduent, the company controversially chosen by Scott’s Department of Transportation to oversee the SunPass toll billing system.
Scott and his wife also invested $3 million in the parent company of All Aboard Florida, the high-speed rail line from Orlando to Tampa that Scott originally canceled and then revived with private investors.
Now in the Senate, Scott has investments that create new potential conflicts with his job. He owns stock in defense contractors Raytheon and Lockheed Martin while sitting on the powerful Senate committee that oversees the Pentagon’s budget.
While he unloaded hundreds of stocks this year, he kept a big one: Wireless Telecom Group Inc. He and Ann own at least $2 million in the company. Scott works on the Senate subcommittee that regulates wireless communications.
The former healthcare executive made his wealth building one of the country’s largest hospital networks. He resigned in 1997 amid a federal fraud investigation and left with $300 million in stock and options. Later, the U.S. Department of Justice fined the company $1.7 billion for defrauding Medicare and other government healthcare programs.
A political outsider, Scott came from relative obscurity to win the Republican primary for governor in 2010. In all, he spent about $75 million of his own money to capture the nomination and win the governor’s race over Democrat Alex Sink.
As governor, Scott put his assets in what he called a “blind trust,” though ethics experts said it fell well short of the definition and it mainly served to shield his investments from the public. His wife’s holdings were not in the trust, nor did he disclose her assets for most of his eight years as governor.
During that span, Scott’s family bought and sold assets that mirror those held by Scott’s blind trust and had them managed by the same team of financial advisers who worked on Scott’s investments before he became governor.
Those same advisers continue to work with Scott, managing at least seven private investment funds and one newly created limited liability company to hold the assets of a $4.3 million luxury condo Scott and his wife bought in D.C.’s West End.
The disclosure he filed last year to run for U.S. Senate was the first time he made public his wife’s investments. Unlike Florida law, which does not require Scott to disclose his spouse’s assets, he had to disclose all his family’s assets to run for Congress, although the disclosure of his wife’s assets was not required to be as rigorous as his.
When Scott ran for Senate he chose to abandon his blind trust because, unlike federal law that allowed the governor to choose a trustee he knew and had worked with, the federal law prohibits blind trusts to be managed by someone with a prior relationship to the elected official and all communication between them is forbidden.
Earlier this year, Florida lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis eliminated the state law that allowed Scott to create his unique trust.
Times staff writer Connie Humburg contributed to this report.