Taxpayers spend nearly $10 million to protect DeSantis and First Family

An FDLE report shows security costs for DeSantis nearly doubled in the last year
Security costs for DeSantis increase to over $9 million
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 5:19 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2023 at 8:03 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV/Gray Florida Capital Bureau) - Taxpayers paid significantly more in that last year to protect Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his family.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s “Report of Transportation and Protective Services” shows the department spent $9.4 million dollars on salaries and travel expenses during the fiscal year ending June 30.

Under Florida law, FLDE provides around-the-clock protection to the governor and First Family.

The agency report shows the cost of protecting the governor alone nearly doubled since the previous year. Most of the expense was for law enforcement salaries, which went from $2.3 million dollars to more than $5 million.

A little more than $3 million went toward travel expenses, which was an increase of nearly $1 million compared to the year prior.

“These increased costs are reflective of a governor who refuses to stay in a state that he was elected to govern,” DeSantis Watch spokesman Anders Croy said.

DeSantis announced his presidential campaign on May 24 but had been traveling the country before the announcement. Croy said he would like to DeSantis stay in Florida and help save taxpayers money.

“People can’t afford Florida. We deserve a governor that’s focused on that, not what matters to Iowa and New Hampshire voters,” Croy said.

The governor’s office sent the Gray Florida Capital Bureau a statement saying the increase in costs is because of the elevated threat profile and extra security measures taken for the governor and his family.

“FDLE has increased the number of protective agents to ensure the governor and his family remain safe,” Governor Deputy Press Secretary Alex Lanfranconi said in the statement.

Metal grates were also installed on the fence surrounding the governor’s mansion Wednesday.

The governor and his immediate family members’ travel records are now withheld from the public after DeSantis signed a new law earlier this year. The law also withholds travel records for other state leaders including the lieutenant governor, the speaker of the house and the senate president.

The price tag for protecting Florida’s governor has gone up since DeSantis took office. The state spent a little more than $2 million to protect Rick Scott in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.