Rick Scott, Florida's incoming GOP governor, recently continued his inaugural tour on donors' dimes, making stops at Disney World and the Disney Yacht Club to talk to supporters about vague policy initiatives, all funded by his inaugural celebration fund. Recent reports place the total of that cash pool, which has been paid into by individuals and corporate interests, in the millions and it is expected to swell before the festivities begin early next month.
The Palm Beach Post has the scoop:
Earlier, Scott hosted a lunch at the Disney Yacht Club for some of his campaign volunteers and supporters where he reiterated his campaign pledges to shrink state government ("It's too big") and do away with regulations.
Scott - a mega-millionaire who spent more than $70 million on his campaign for governor - and his family and Lt. Gov-elect Jennifer Carroll and her husband Nolan are traveling on two charter planes today and Wednesday to spread some of the inaugural cheer around the state. They'll wind up in Clewiston at a barbecue this evening.
Scott's inaugural fund is footing the bill for the planes and the other events on Wednesday, Monday and Tuesday - culminating with the inaugural ball.
Scott has come under heavy criticism for the allegedly lavish nature of his inaugural bash, which he wants to be partially funded by outside donations, which are now being used to charter plane trips around the state. For the price of $95 a head -- though donors who contribute the maximum of $25,000 to fund the cause can get 10 tickets -- revelers, by invite only, can partake in a "candle light dinner," a "youth concert" and the official "inaugural parade" and ball in Tallahassee over the course of two days in early January.
Scott, who during his election spent a large chunk of the fortune he amassed as CEO of a hospital chain that was later the focus of a massive medicare fraud scandal, has already been successful in securing funds for the festivities. According to ThinkProgress, he'd already raised $2 million from corporate and individual donors as of the middle of December.
"I [am] looking forward to celebrating with our fellow Floridians," Scott said of the planned ceremonies in a news release in November, according to The St. Petersburg Times. "We have much to celebrate during this inauguration as we welcome a new slate of officers with a renewed focus on Florida's path to prosperity."
Many Floridians, including some of the 11.6 percent of the state's work force that is currently unemployed, are waiting to get on that "path to prosperity," though some have questioned whether this type of display is likely to get them there.