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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22 Responses to “Ron DeSantis has cost Florida taxpayers $13 million in security and travel”

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  1. Veronica S. says:

    Sounds like the majority of Florida voters are getting exactly what they voted for. It’s the ones who didn’t or couldn’t vote for it who deserve our sympathy.

  2. Brassy Rebel says:

    This dude. Are the good citizens of Florida really going to put up with this crap? Make him pay for his own political campaigns, dammit!

  3. Carol Mengel says:

    I live in Florida. I didn’t vote for this POS. It’s disgusting. 2 more years of him. Yuck. He’s a Nazi.

    • EveV says:

      @Carol I am also a Floridian and a small part of me dies every time he releases a new bigoted policy. He is worse than awful and I cannot wait for the day we vote him out of office!

  4. Lightpurple says:

    Former MA Governor Charlie Baket says: “WTF?”

    And I typed that in Charlie’s voice.

  5. Naye In VA says:

    The more I look at him the more he looks like the main villain from “The Boys”

  6. christy says:

    Sounds like a Florida problem to me. Frankly they deserve it (apology to the smaller percentage that are not bat poo crazy).

    • Bellaluna McKenzie says:

      My husband and I live in Florida. We are not, by any means, poor…but we also never endorsed him as governor, nor are we happy. We vote whenever we can as well.

      It’s just too bad a big majority don’t vote, or drank the Kool-Aid. We stay here because of sentimental value and family.

  7. Jan says:

    “Go back to Florida, pudding fingers” should be the Slogan use against Ron, where he goes.

  8. Flora Kitty says:

    He looks like the definition of the phrase banality of evil.

  9. Squints says:

    They can afford it.

  10. Concern Fae says:

    I’m sure part of what’s happening is the cops piling on more security than is strictly needed, just to be able to say they were in the governor’s detail. Also, traveling with the governor has to bag someone a huge chunk of overtime pay. Wouldn’t surprise me if these guys are getting paid overtime rates 24/7 for the whole time they are out of Florida. First step of defunding the police is making sure they have the same rules for getting paid as every other government worker.

    • BeanieBean says:

      I’m also curious, because the article seems to conflate the costs of travel with the costs of security–which may well be the case, but the two are different line items on travel expense sheets (usually done on some travel program these days). I don’t know what other states do, but paying for security 24/7, while at home, away at work, or away at vacation, seems like a lot. Not just the pay & the OT pay for the cops, but their travel & per diem expenses as well. I bet nobody’s reading the fine print on those expense reports & the taxpayer is getting hosed.

  11. Twin Falls says:

    I suppose the money is coming from all the DEI programs he cancelled funding for in Florida colleges.

    Even better for Floridians struggling with the relentless heat and rising costs, DeSantis vetoed accepting $5mm from the federal government for improving energy efficiency which now disqualifies the state from receiving an additional $346 million in federal dollars to have been used directly by the citizens of Florida to improve their homes at no cost to the state of Florida.

    Dude loves an own goal on behalf of the people of Florida.

  12. ClaireB says:

    As one of those taxpayers, I am super pissed off but unsurprised. We have consistent teacher and bus driver shortages in our school district which even a slight pay raise would help, but Ron gets to campaign on our dime? Put that money to actual good use!!

  13. Korra says:

    There has been quite the pig pile of unflattering DeSantis stories this week and I feel this has been one of the least interesting stories to come out (I am sure FL taxpayers will disagree, as they should be angry at how he wastes resources.)

    The other stories include his super PAC, which can’t technically coordinate in private with his campaign, leaking his debate strategy for the first GOP debate next week. And boy it’s a doozy — it includes defending Donald Trump when Chris Christie attacks him so DeSantis can gain brownie points with MAGA, attacking Vivek Ramaswamy and calling him “fake Vivek” because he has been catching up to DeSantis in the polls, and attacking Joe Biden and the media 3-5 times. But my personal favorite point from the memo was DeSantis being told to show emotion when talking about his wife and kids. OMG, he has to be reminded of that! LOL!

    The other story was a resurfaced clip of him on Laura Ingraham’s show two days after the 2020 election, where he urged Republican voters in swing states to call their local electors to participate in an “alternative elector scheme” — verbatim what Roger Stone had been saying leading up to the election. Yup, a heavy implication that DeSantis has been aware of Trump’s attempts to overthrow the 2020 election and was a willing participant at some point. And if I recall, co-conspirator John Eastman said in his J6 committee testimony that Florida was one of a handful of states identified as participating in a fake elector scheme, but since it when for Trump, the plan did not need to go through. The story is on Florida Politics’ website, FYI.

    • BeanieBean says:

      I just listened to the Pod Save America episode where they discussed that strategy dump by the PAC. They laughed themselves silly! It was pretty funny! This will have the opposite effect for RDS, providing his opponents with plenty of time for killer comebacks! Dummies!

  14. jferber says:

    And I believe it has to be astronomically higher. If he thinks destroying Disney, which provides a huge chunk of the Floridian economy, is going to land him in the presidential office, he’s insane. His idiotic take is that he has to wrestle everyone and everything to the ground and defeat them in order to show how tough and brutal he is, and that he will do the same to America should he take the Oval Office. Is that what the American people, as f-cked up as we’ve become, really want? Nothing and no one will be safe from him. Hate him.

  15. AC says:

    I remembered my brother’s acquaintance moved to Florida from California and how she kept saying CA was so bad compared to Florida and glad she moved. She’s been keeping her mouth shut now 😆.