Florida taxpayers paid $8.8 million to protect Gov. Ron DeSantis and his family over the past year as he laid the groundwork for and then launched a presidential campaign, according to a new state report.
The report, released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, covers July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023 – a period that saw DeSantis fundraise across the country for his gubernatorial reelection, participate in rallies for Republicans in midterm battlegrounds, embark on a national tour to promote his second book and the first six weeks of his presidential campaign.
The state spent $8 million on protecting DeSantis alone – including $5 million on salaried employees and $3 million on travel and other expenses. Another $670,000 was spent protecting Florida first lady Casey DeSantis.
The cost marks a significant increase in providing security for DeSantis and his family from his first term in office. In the previous year, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported it had spent $5.5 million while watching Florida’s first family.
That, too, marked an increase over his predecessor. During the same 12-month period from 2017 to 2018, FDLE spent about $2.5 million protecting then-Gov. Rick Scott and $384,000 on his wife, Ann Scott.
The department also reported expenses totaling $457,000 to protect various dignitaries visiting Florida – far surpassing previous years. Last year, FDLE spent $154,000 on security for governors and other politicians that had spent time in the Sunshine State. In Scott’s final year, those costs were less than $5,000.