JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis is set to make his first public appearance on the campaign trail since announcing his bid for the Presidency in Des Moines, Iowa Tuesday evening.
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But due to a new law signed by the Governor in recent weeks, taxpayers will have no way of ensuring they’re not forking the bill for the Governor’s campaign travel expenses and security detail.
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“These records in the past have shown that Governors and state officials have abused travel privileges in the past,” said Bobby Block with the Florida First Amendment Foundation.
Block argued taxpayers have a right to know where their leader travels and how much money it costs.
“Florida is supposed to the leader in terms of public access to public information and every year it’s being eroded with all these exemptions,” Block said.
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Earlier in the month, DeSantis argued the exemption came in response to growing security risks.
“Because you’re in a situation where these movements unfortunately are watched. We have situations where we’ll have people waiting for us and they look at the hotels, and it’s not me, it’s an individual security agent or something,” DeSantis said during a May 5th press conference.
But State Representative Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville) questioned: If the exemption is about security, why would lawmakers craft the legislation so it applies to trips that have already occurred?
“If it is about safety there’s no reason for them not to allow us to see where he has been in the past. That way we could possibly recoup funds if he has in fact used taxpayer dollars,” Nixon said.
The Governor’s Office sent us this statement when Action News Jax asked if it was committed to reserving taxpayer dollars for official travel purposes only.
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“The state office does not coordinate political travel. Governor DeSantis only uses the state plane for state business, in accordance with the law,” DeSantis’ Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern said.
Since the law took effect in mid-May, a new Twitter account called ‘DeSantisJet’ has been publishing movements of the state plane on a 24-hour delay.
So far, none of the flights appear to be campaign-related, but Block argued the account can only tell part of the story.
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“What we don’t know still is who is traveling with him, who is he specifically going to see and is it on our dime? And does it deserve to be on our dime?” Block said.