Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gov. Scott attends private weekend retreat hosted by influential Koch brothers

WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Scott acknowledged Tuesday what his staff had refused to disclose: He flew to Colorado over the weekend to attend a secretive policy retreat hosted by powerful conservative donors Charles and David Koch.

"It was very interesting," Scott said. "They wanted basically to know what am I doing in Florida."

Scott said he gave an overview of his agenda since taking office in January: education and Medicaid reform, tax breaks for businesses, drug testing welfare recipients and overhauling the public employee pension system.

The billionaire Koch brothers are widely influential in national politics and helped spur the tea party movement through groups like Americans for Prosperity.

Also attending the retreat near Vail were Republican Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Bob McDonnell of Virginia, and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

A spokesman for Koch Industries, one of the nation's largest private companies, told the Denver Post on Friday that the purpose of the conference "is to develop support for the kind of free-market policies and initiatives that can get our country back on the path to economic prosperity and sustained job creation."

Scott's schedule over the weekend listed no events, unusual because he has worked most weekends. Times/Herald reporters asked if he had anything going on and were met with silence or vague answers from several members of his staff.

The Koch summit was noticed because McDonnell put it on his schedule last week.

"I told anybody who asked me," said Scott, who was in Washington on Tuesday to host a breakfast a biotech industry convention.

Scott said he found the sessions useful.

"In this job, you've got to constantly listen to what other people are thinking. Part of what you do in business is you say, 'Gosh, they are doing something, well, I'm going to see if I can do it better.' The same with this … okay, what are people doing that is working in their states?"

The Koch brothers draw fire from Democrats given their clout over conservative policies, and some liberals are staging a protest in Colorado, where the retreat began Sunday.

Scott uses his own plane, even when doing official state business, but his weekend trip still drew complaints from Democrats in Florida. Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff used Twitter on Monday to question the governor's whereabouts.

With confirmation Tuesday, Jotkoff blasted Scott for flying off to "kiss the Koch Brothers' ring" while wildfires were spreading across the state.

Gov. Scott attends private weekend retreat hosted by influential Koch brothers 06/28/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 11:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Blogs

    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102