DeSantisā€™s Security and Travel Costs Rose by Nearly 70 Percent in a Year

by Pelican Press
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Even before entering the presidential race in May, Mr. DeSantis had encountered intense scrutiny over the ancillary costs of his many political excursions out of state and who was paying for them.

A Republican in his second term, he has also faced criticism from government watchdog groups as well as his main rival, former President Donald J. Trump, who say that Mr. DeSantis has not been transparent about how much taxpayer money he was spending on travel.

Jeremy Redfern, the press secretary for Mr. DeSantis, said in an email on Wednesday that Florida law required the stateā€™s law enforcement agency to provide protection for the governor and his family.

ā€œHis record as the most effective conservative governor in American history has also earned him an elevated threat profile, and F.D.L.E. has increased the number of protective agents to ensure the governor and his family remain safe,ā€ he said.

The governorā€™s office did not say whether it had been reimbursed for any of those expenses by Mr. DeSantisā€™s campaign or Never Back Down, the main pro-DeSantis super PAC. Neither immediately commented on Wednesday.

In a state known for its sunshine laws, Mr. DeSantis signed a law in May to shield records of his travel from the public, including out-of-state political trips.

The measure, which Republicans and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement argued was needed for security reasons, placed a veil of secrecy over who is paying for Mr. DeSantisā€™s travel and how he is dividing his time as both governor and presidential candidate.

Mr. DeSantis has also frequently traveled on private jets, with political donors picking up the tab.

If the breakneck pace of Mr. DeSantisā€™s campaign is any indication, especially in states with early nominating contests, Florida taxpayers should probably not expect a sharp reversal in rising security costs anytime soon.

In Iowa, Mr. DeSantis has set out to visit all 99 of the stateā€™s counties by the fall, having visited about a third of them so far, often with a large entourage that includes his wife, Casey, three children and a phalanx of Florida law enforcement officers.

He has also been confronted on the trail by hecklers, a mix of liberals protesting his policies as governor and loyalists to Mr. Trump taunting him for his challenge to the former president.

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