TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — As Gov. Ron DeSantis hit the trail on his nationwide presidential campaign in May, Florida taxpayers reached deep into their pockets to fund protection for the governor and his family.
Florida spent more than $9.87 million during the 2022-2023 fiscal year (July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023) protecting and transporting the DeSantis family and various visiting officials, according to a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
That’s up 38% from the 2021-2022 fiscal year ($6.09 million), which had already increased 25% since the 2020-2021 fiscal year ($4.84 million).
Costs included security for the governor, the governor’s immediate family, the governor’s office, mansion, and grounds. Also included were security detail requests for visiting governors and families, gubernatorial candidates, and other heads of state.
When broken down, the state paid $5.03 million in security salaries to protect the governor. An additional $3.03 million was spent on various costs associated with the governor’s transportation. The total cost to protect the governor alone during this period was $8.07 million.
The State of Florida also spent $600,759 in security salaries to protect First Lady Casey DeSantis, and an additional $68,741 for her transportation. The total spent on the first lady was $669,501.
The grand total expenditure to protect the first family, including associated transportation costs, was $9,418,861.95.
The grand total expenditure to protect various visiting dignitaries was $457,242.39. The majority of expenses were incurred from the Republican Governor’s Association Conference ($96,924.50) on Nov. 15-16, 2022, and the Gubernatorial Inauguration ($117,053.32) on Jan. 3, 2023.
But the governor also spent thousands protecting Gubernatorial Candidate Charlie Crist ($9,962.75) on Nov. 8, 2022, the Governor and First Lady of Arizona ($7,106.44) from Nov. 13-17, 2022, and the Governor-elect of Arkansas ($7,862.80) from Nov. 14-17, 2022.
“By law, FDLE must provide protective services to the Governor and the First Family,” DeSantis’ Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern told 8 On Your Side’s Libbey Dean. “His record as the most effective conservative governor in American history has also earned him an elevated threat profile, and FDLE has increased the number of protective agents to ensure the governor and his family remain safe.”