Florida Gov. Rick Scott: PBS a "Special Interest," Private Corrections Firm Just Plain Special

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The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. The latest Ken Burns Civil War documentary. Sesame Street. According to Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), these programs and the countless others on PBS and NPR represent a "special interest." That's how Scott justified cutting all state funding to public television and radio last week.

Flaglerlive.com reported yesterday on Gov. Scott's veto of that portion of the state budget, noting that he called the action a "rejection of special interests."

From the Flagler.com story:

'“It is particularly perplexing to us that we are lumped in this category of special interest groups,” said Michael Boylan, the President and CEO of WJCT Public Broadcasting in Jacksonville. Boylan said he can’t remember a time when a governor has vetoed all state funding for public television and radio stations."   

Gov. Scott's characterization of public broadcasting as a special interest is interesting, especially when you consider what he has done for at least one other wealthy interest that he has very close ties to. Think Progress reported earlier this month on Scott's plan to privatize the states' prison system, a move that benefits a major campaign contributor to the Republican Party, and the Governor himself.

The GEO Group, the nation’s second largest private corrections company, a “prime financier[] of the Republican Party,” gave more than $400,000 to GOP in the 2010 election cycle alone and gave the maximum $25,000 to Scott’s inaugural fund., according to the Think Progress story. And the close connections to Gov. Scott don't end there.

From the Think Progress report:

"The company has also deployed a small army of lobbyists in Tallahassee, including Florida “uber-lobbyist” Brian Ballard. Ballard and Scott have an unusually close relationship. Scott appointed Ballard to the finance committee for his inaugural fund and Ballard helped raise $3 million for the festivities. The month after Scott was sworn in, Ballard hosted a fundraiser Superbowl party at his Tallahassee home — Scott was the guest of honor."

It sounds like Gov. Scott may have watched a little bit of Sesame Street when he was a kid, judging by how nicely he treats his friends. After campaigning against special interests and government waste in 2010, it seems that Scott has decided to keep that promise by arbitrarily designating things he doesn't like as "special interests," while at the same time paying back favors so his big money buddies can increase their profits. It's enough to make Oscar the Grouch hold his nose.