The St. Pete Times can? pat itself on the back enough for triggering ethics complaint

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The St. Pete Times takes credit for an ethics complaint filed against Rick Scott, and Rick Scott takes credit for stopping a government shutdown, writes MSNBC star and my blogging colleague Joy Reid.

The Times can? pat itself on the back enough for allegedly triggering an ethics complaint by an activist named David Plyer against the Solantic CEO governor, who placed his $62 million investment in a trust so blind, he? have to not talk to his wife for three years in order not to know what? in it.

Never mind that columnists and bloggers (yours truly included), not to mention the Palm Beach Post (which to my knowledge, had the story first) and Mother Jones magazinebegan pointing out Scott? potential conflicts of interest before the Times, which thought it wisdom to post a front page homage to the governor? boots, took up the issue. But hey, if you can? pat your own back, who will? And I? assuming that Plyer clipped stories from his home county? newspaper in his filing, so there you go. (More on Plyer from the SP Times archives here.)

Also interesting that the Times spent most of its story running down Plyer? history (giving itself credit for each of his prior ethics filings against politicians.)But then, maybe I? just in amood because of that ridiculous, suck-upishboots?storyo

Moving on, it appears that Gollum has been spooked. The Post, not to be outdone,is reporting this morning that he? seeking to sell of his interest in Solantic:

A spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott said Monday that the former health care executive is in the process of divesting his family? shares of Solantic, the urgent care chain that Scott co-founded in 2001, to eliminate any perception of a conflict of interest.

The news follows a Palm Beach Post story that detailed how the governor transferred his controlling interest in the clinic chain to his wife? trust shortly before he was inaugurated, meeting the letter of state ethics laws if not the intent.

Rumors spread through Tallahassee and Twitter on Monday that a complaint had been filed against Scott with the Florida Commission on Ethics. But Scott spokesman Brian Burgess said that neither he nor anyone in his office had seen a complaint.

Asked to respond to reports of a complaint Monday, Scott repeated past remarks.

?s you know, I?e been transparent. I was transparent in my race. I?e put those assets in my wife? name,?Scott said. ?verybody knows it. I?e been very clear. I?e said that the state will not have a contract with that company. I?e told everybody, ?old me accountable.??

Any citizen can file an ethics complaint against a public official, but the complaint is kept confidential until a probable-cause investigation is conducted and the findings are heard at a public meeting. The ethics commission? next public meeting is May 13. It? unclear whether an inquiry into the Scott complaint, if one exists, would be ready in time for that agenda.

Legal experts and ethicists say Scott? clinic ownership would be illegal in many states ?though not necessarily in Florida.

Scott oversees two state agencies involved in regulating clinics and their professionals. Some of Solantic? 32 clinics see state Medicaid and Medicaid HMO clients. Also, the governor? executive order requiring random drug tests of state employees has added to the scrutiny, because Solantic conducts employer and private drug screening.

And dig this whingey response from Scott spokesman Brian Burgess:

? get that people think there? a conflict, but I don? get what people think should be done about it,?Burgess said. ?f he can? divest instantly, what should he do??/blockquote>
Waa. Continue reading The Reid Report.

The Post also used its piece to try and reclaim the story (newspaper rivalry, dead ahead

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.