Ron DeSantis has cost Florida taxpayers $13 million in security and travel

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Ron DeSantis made his candidacy for the Republican nomination official in late May, and so far the campaign has been going just as well as the announcement. Along with other GOP hopefuls trailing behind the twice-impeached four-time-indicted former president, Ron has been stomping around Iowa, endearing himself to their voters. But all that travel comes at a hefty price. Luckily for Ron, he’s not the one paying it! In between tanking his state’s economy and picking fights with Disney, every time he ventures out-of-state on the campaign the Florida taxpayers have the honor of footing the bill. #BeLikableRon2024 is in full swing. From the Miami Herald:

$13 million in 2 years: Florida taxpayers have spent more than $13 million on travel and protective security for Gov. Ron DeSantis in the two years he has prepared and run a campaign to become the 2024 Republican presidential nominee, according to state records released this week. While some of that money covers the governor’s routine security and travel for his state job, the totals for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 budget years are significantly higher than the state spent his first two years in office—and it is substantially more than what several other states report their sitting governors spent while running for president in previous election cycles.

Taxpayers are ‘allowed’ to cover his costs: Florida allows taxpayers to pick up all the costs for travel and security for its governors, even when they are engaged in political campaigning or personal travel. In just over four years in office, the total cost of travel and security detail for the governor and his family is more than $22 million. “Protective operations salaries are covered under the FDLE budget,” said Gretl Plessinger, spokesperson for the agency that handles the governor’s security and travel in an interview in June. “For us, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a campaign event or a vacation on the beach, for protective ops we cover him 24-7.”

He’s a high threat level: DeSantis has spent much of the last two years traveling the country promoting his political memoir and raising money for his campaigns. Some of the additional cost can be attributed to the need for additional FDLE agents on the governor’s security detail, said Alex Lanfranconi, the governor’s deputy press secretary. “His record as the most effective conservative governor in American history has also earned him an elevated threat profile, and FDLE has increased the number of protective agents to ensure the governor and his family remain safe,” Lanfranconi said.

Ron hasn’t paid any of it back (no sh*t): In his first two years on the job, the cost of DeSantis’ travel and security averaged about $3.75 million, but, since the end of the pandemic and start of the governor’s national political pursuits, those numbers have increased significantly. In the 2021-22 fiscal it was $4.76 million and in ‘22-23 is $8 million. Although DeSantis’ campaign and his political committee have raised record sums for a sitting governor—holding its latest fundraising telethon in Tampa on Wednesday—none of the more than $100 million raised has gone to reimbursing Florida taxpayers, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

[From Miami Herald]

“His record as the most effective conservative governor in American history has also earned him an elevated threat profile.” Whatever narcotic this press secretary is imbibing, I want in. Seriously. If that’s not drinking the Kool Aid, I don’t know what is. Most effective conservative governor in American history?! He’s not even the most effective conservative governor in Florida—present history.

I’ll leave it to Floridians to judge if $7 million a year (I rounded up to include the several hundred thousand extra for his wife and kids) is reasonable or not for keeping Ron out of the state for stretches. Should you decide it’s too much, I have the solution: borrow from the DeSantis playbook and simply suspend his funds. If he demands an explanation, all you have to say is “neglect of duty.” #BeLikableRon2024

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