Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s super PAC received $50,000 from a billionaire who had previously called the public school system a Ku Klux Klan conspiracy designed to hurt black children.
In Scott’s two terms in office, the Republican has cut funding for public schools and diverted money to privately owned charter schools. His focus on cutting taxes caught the attention of Rex Sinquefield, a Missouri billionaire and co-founder of Dimensional Fund Advisors who has become a major political benefactor for conservatives in his home state.
In June, Sinquefield pumped $50,000 into New Republican PAC, which Scott took over in 2017 to rebrand the GOP. But when Scott announced his Senate campaign, the PAC switched its focus to support Scott.
While the PAC is precluded from coordinating with Scott’s campaign, it spent $5.3 million against Scott’s opponent, Sen. Bill Nelson, through early August, according to Federal Election Commission records.
In a 2012 lecture, Sinquefield relayed a theory that the school system was a racist creation, a claim that drew calls from the Missouri National Education Association for politicians to return his contributions.
According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, Sinquefield said: “The Ku Klux Klan got together and said how can we really hurt the African American children permanently? How can we ruin their lives? And what they designed was the public school system.”
Two years later, Scott had a meeting with Sinquefield about his push to lure businesses in high-tax states to Florida. In a Forbes column about the meeting, Sinquefield praised Scott’s vision to “fuel even more growth.”
“In January, Scott laid out his ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget,’” Sinquefield wrote. “This forward-thinking plan promises to return $500 million in taxes and fees to families and businesses. Just as important, Scott wants to cut government waste by nearly $290 million, and pay down more of the state’s debt by $170 million.”
A few months later, Sinquefield contributed $30,000 to the Republican Party of Florida as Scott entered the homestretch of his reelection campaign, according to Florida election records.