Rick Scott’s Appointment Process: Cronies to the Front of the Line
MIAMI, FL – On Tuesday
, the Miami Herald
broke another story
about Governor Rick Scott appointing a political crony to head a major agency. The governor and his cabinet appointed Noah Valenstein to head the Department of Environmental Protection without disclosing any of his potential conflicts of interest–Valenstein was the only candidate the cabinet interviewed for the position.
Valenstein, a land-use lawyer and former lobbyist, currently serves as executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District. More notably, however, he was the founder of two Republican strategy firms—Voter Opinions, LLC and Campaign Facts, LLC. Both companies combined have received close to $946,000 (including nearly $200,000 from the Republican Party of Florida alone) in payments from candidates as well as political and advocacy groups since 2010
Valenstein, holding himself to the highest ethical standards, transferred both companies to his wife’s name before he joined the governor’s staff in 2012.
“Without missing a beat, Rick Scott puts personal gain over the needs Floridians by appointing a crony to run a critical agency. Florida’s conservation funding has been decimated and environmental standards have plummeted. There is an obvious connection between Valenstein and the Republican strategy firms he claims to have divorced himself from. The last thing Floridians need is for our lead environmental policymaker to be susceptible to political contributions,” said FDP spokesperson Johanna Cervone