I’m unimpressed when people in public office refuse to accept a salary for the job. I want them to take the paycheck that comes with the job, even if it’s a trifling sum compared to their obscene personal wealth. If only symbolically, a paycheck reminds the recipient who’s boss.
Rick Scott, the Medicare fraudster who purchased the governorship of Florida for around $100 million over two terms and then bought a U.S. Senate seat for $63 million, famously refuses to accept a salary. He’s a money-grubbing crook without an altruistic bone in his Skeletor-like body, so the reasonable assumption is he’s profiting off the offices. And look!
The governor’s blind trust is managed by a third party — a company that includes the governor’s former personal adviser. The governor reported that in 2017 his blind trust ballooned in value from $130 million to $215 million. The governor’s reported investment income from the trust rocketed from $4.3 million in 2016 to $120 million.
Early in his governorship, Scott ordered drug testing for all state employees and welfare recipients. It just so happened that his assets, which were transferred to his wife in a laughably lame attempt to disguise Scott’s interests, included a chain of urgent care clinics that did drug testing:
The Palm Beach Post reported in an exclusive story two weeks ago that while Scott divested his interest in Solantic in January, the controlling shares went to a trust in his wife’s name.
This raised a groundswell of concern and questions about his health policy initiatives, especially his push to move Medicaid into private HMOs. Solantic does not take Medicaid but does business with private Medicaid HMOs. The questions are growing louder with Scott’s executive order on drug testing.
Drug testing welfare recipients ended up costing Florida taxpayers $45K as a net loss, meaning we paid more for the tests than we saved in denying benefits — and that doesn’t count the legal costs associated with the many lawsuits the drug testing law spawned. But someone profited.
This morning, Trump bragged about donating his quarterly salary to DHS:
While the press doesn’t like writing about it, nor do I need them to, I donate my yearly Presidential salary of $400,000.00 to different agencies throughout the year, this to Homeland Security. If I didn’t do it there would be hell to pay from the FAKE NEWS MEDIA!
The tweet was accompanied by an image of the check, which was a bad move from an “optics” standpoint since it looks exactly like the exhibit Michael Cohen waved around in the Congressional hearing to corroborate his testimony about Trump paying off Stormy Daniels.
But that whiny “If I didn’t do it there would be hell to pay” shows how much charitable giving chaps Trump’s ass. He likes to brag about his generosity, but he doesn’t pay up except under duress, which is why his scam foundation was shut down.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner also claim to work for free. We know Trump and his garbage family are profiting from the presidency in various ways — piles of cash for Trump-branded hotels and resorts from domestic and foreign entities hoping to curry favor, exclusive trademarks for business products in foreign countries, cash to bail out teetering real estate empires, etc.
What hasn’t been fully tallied yet is the cost to Americans for these bribes. Here’s one example:
This week, the payday lenders are gathering at Trump National Doral Miami for the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA) annual conference.
They have plenty to celebrate. After years of lobbying and litigation, the Trump administration gutted an Obama-era rule that would have cracked down on the industry’s most abusive practices.
According to Judd Legum, it’s only $450 per round of golf, and the rule change is worth $7 billion to the industry, which is once again free to fleece the poor and desperate. That makes it a pitifully small bribe. Subverting U.S. foreign policy to bail out Jared will likely prove more expensive.
I’m guessing there are decent liberal politicians who are wealthy as hell and eschew their salary without profiting from their offices. I still don’t like it. Take the damned money, rich politicians. Donate the same amount to a charity later if it makes you feel better, but keep the news of the donation to yourself. Otherwise, us working stiffs might suspect you’re a dabbler.