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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Ron DeSantis refuses to disclose details of $145,000 in taxpayer-funded travel

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 3:34 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOEY ROULETTE
  • Photo by Joey Roulette
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis refuses to disclose details about the $145,000 he spent on taxpayer-funded travels before he resigned from Congress.

Aside from their salaries, DeSantis and other members of Congress are all given allowances to cover "official office expenses," including staff salaries, mail, equipment, goods, services and travel between their districts and Washington, D.C. The Naples Daily News reports DeSantis submitted a ledger of expenses each quarter showing how he spent the money from January 2013 to June 2018, which was between $1.1 million and $1.4 million each year.

But aside from submitting the date when he bought airline tickets, DeSantis wouldn't release detailed receipts of his taxpayer-funded trips to the Daily News, which would include information about where he went, the reason for traveling and what kind of ticket he bought. The newspaper notes the trips DeSantis took included at least two trips to New York to appear on Fox News before announcing his gubernatorial campaign. Before winning the Republican nomination against Adam Putnam, DeSantis made 121 appearances on Fox and Fox Business (often to defend President Donald Trump) – worth about $9.3 million in free airtime, according to Politico.

Congress members are allowed to use their allowance to travel for official media appearances as long as it's their "primary purpose of travel," according to the Daily News. The DeSantis campaign told the newspaper the former Congressman's trips were "official office travel that included official media appearances" and there was "zero misuse of taxpayer dollars."

"He slept in his office and incurred as little expenses as possible," DeSantis campaign spokesperson Stephen Lawson told the Daily News. "From declining his government pension to fighting against taxpayer waste, Ron has always looked out for the taxpayer’s best interest."

But because DeSantis won't release his receipts, the Daily News argues, "it remains unclear how many trips DeSantis took at taxpayer expense to make media appearances."

DeSantis' refusal to release his records makes his sanctimonious demand that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum release records related to allegations that he took a Hamilton ticket from an undercover FBI agent seem that much more insincere.

"DeSantis' failure to release his receipts represents a stunning act of hypocrisy – and marks him as a fundamentally corrupt and dishonest politician," said Kevin Donohoe, spokesperson for the Florida Democratic Party, in a statement.

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