AP Exclusive: Under radar, Florida spent almost $240M on lawyers

Posted at 8:51 AM, Mar 13, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-26 09:55:57-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Gov. Rick Scott and other top Florida officials and lawmakers frequently complain about government spending, but an investigation by The Associated Press has found that they've paid private attorneys more than $237 million to advance and defend their agendas.

Florida taxpayers have been stuck with the costs of defending legislation and initiatives the Republican governor and Legislature have enacted during Scott's time in office.

The state also has had to pay nearly $16 million in fees of its opponents' lawyers after losing battles to test welfare recipients for drugs, trim voter registration lists, and limit medical services for children on Medicaid.

No one in state government - not even the state's legal officer, Attorney General Pam Bondi - closely tracks this spending, but The AP was able to obtain public documents and run the numbers.
Associated Press writer David Klepper in Albany, N.Y. contributed to this story.