Home Politics Questions Arise Over Ron DeSantis’ State Plane Usage Amid Fundraiser

Questions Arise Over Ron DeSantis’ State Plane Usage Amid Fundraiser

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Questions Arise Over Ron DeSantis’ State Plane Usage Amid Fundraiser

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign for president hasn’t been going well, as former President Donald Trump continues to dominate within the polls and fundraising. Yet, on Wednesday, DeSantis took day without work the campaign trail to dedicate a county park that was renamed in his honor. Governor Ron DeSantis Park in Southwest Florida’s Manatee County features pickleball courts, playgrounds, fitness trails, and dog parks. The pickleball courts may not have been the true draw for DeSantis, though. Later within the day, he held a presidential fundraiser at an exclusive golf club near the park, where guests paid a minimum of $1,500 to listen to the governor speak about Israel and other issues. It seems that DeSantis flew to Wednesday’s events in his state plane, raising the query of whether taxpayer resources benefited his presidential campaign. DeSantis’ wife, Casey DeSantis, may even be following the pattern. The state plane flew to Sarasota a second time a day in a while Thursday, Oct. 19. Casey DeSantis had long been scheduled – the event was announced in April – to headline a fundraiser for the Sarasota GOP, which was held Thursday evening. She also held an official event at Recent College of Florida earlier within the day, announcing an employment program for disabled individuals. The event was announced that day. It isn’t the primary time the governor’s office appears to have used a state plane to double up public appearances and private fundraisers. State law prohibits the state’s elected chief executive from using the plane for private use, but by stacking the 2 Manatee County events – one official and one personal – taxpayers could also be covering flights to fundraisers. “Using public resources to complement his campaign has been a consistent pattern,” said Ben Wilcox, research director and co-founder of presidency watchdog group Integrity Florida. While DeSantis’ jet travel has been under scrutiny for months, governor’s office spokesman Jeremy Redfern said the governor is following the law. “Governor DeSantis only uses the state plane for state business, in accordance with the law,” Redfern said. A history of costly jet travel. Even before he was a presidential candidate, the Recent York Times reported that DeSantis was counting on a nonprofit to pay for personal jet trips in an arrangement that shielded donors who were footing the bill from public view, which ethics experts described as questionable. More recently, the Times reported that a brilliant PAC that won’t imagined to coordinate with DeSantis’ campaign is paying to fly the candidate to PAC events. Flying around to campaign events and fundraisers on private jets is not low-cost. Politico reported that DeSantis’ presidential campaign spent $1.5 million within the third quarter on private jet corporations, with payments going to 6 different jet corporations over the summer. Using private jets has contributed to a money crunch for DeSantis’ campaign, which spent nearly all the cash it raised within the third quarter. The campaign has been trying to manage costs. Some political observers imagine that piggybacking an official state event onto a political fundraiser could also be an try and justify flying to the fundraiser on the state dime. Piecing together travel records that DeSantis has shielded. DeSantis’ travel records aren’t public after the governor signed laws this 12 months exempting them from Florida’s open records laws. USA TODAY NETWORK – Florida used aircraft identification records to trace DeSantis’ plane on this and a number of other other trips. A person aware of the governor’s travel said he flew into the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport for the Manatee County events, and flight data supports that. The Florida Legislature approved the acquisition of a $15.5 million Cessna Citation Latitude jet for DeSantis’ use in 2020. The plane is registered to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Flight tracking website ADS-B Exchange shows the FDLE plane departing Tallahassee at 4:27 p.m. and arriving in Sarasota at 5:08 p.m. The park dedication ceremony was at 5:30 p.m. DeSantis flight tracker: The Florida college student who tracked Elon Musk’s jet on Twitter is now tracking Ron DeSantis. It doesn’t appear that DeSantis took the state plane home. It left Sarasota for Tallahassee at 6:03 p.m. Wednesday. The fundraiser at The Concession Golf Club in eastern Manatee County began at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, in accordance with the invitation. DeSantis was back on the campaign trail Thursday with an event in South Carolina launching a veteran’s coalition. Political piggybacking on policy: ‘Everybody does it’. The Manatee County events aren’t the primary time that DeSantis has scheduled official appearances and fundraisers on the identical day and placement, and he is much from the one elected officials to pair events like that. For instance, former President Barack Obama visited the Miami area in 2015, where he toured the National Hurricane Center and held two fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee. “Everybody does it,” said a top Florida Republican. “Since the goal is to shift the price out of your campaign to essentially the taxpayers.” Wilcox said the governor is “adept at blurring the lines between his public business and his campaign.” “A public official is imagined to draw a vivid line between the 2,” Wilcox added. “That said, it is not unusual for public officials who’re also campaigning to check the boundaries of what they will legally get away with. That appears to be what is going on on here.” DeSantis’ Manatee County fundraiser was held at The Concession Golf Club, certainly one of the nicest private clubs within the region. A couple of dozen guests gathered in The Concession’s banquet room, where they munched on appetizers and listened to DeSantis deliver familiar talking points. The fundraiser was hosted by former Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, who also was on the park dedication ceremony, together with distinguished home builders Pat Neal and Carlos Beruff and Concession developer Bruce Cassidy, in accordance with an invite obtained by USA TODAY NETWORK – Florida. Fundraiser attendees were asked to present $11,600 to take part in a “VIP roundtable.” Just attending the reception cost $1,500. DeSantis’ familiar flight pattern. Last 12 months, the FDLE plane utilized by the governor flew to Fort Myers on May 3, in accordance with ADS-B Exchange. DeSantis held a press conference at 2:15 p.m. that day at Lover’s Key State Park. Later that day, he attended two fundraisers an hour north in Sarasota, and the plane flew back to Tallahassee from Fort Myers that very same evening. The governor’s press conference was to announce $20 million in “Resilient Florida” grants to varied communities, something that he could have done with a press release but as a substitute used as a possibility for a public event. The fundraisers DeSantis held later within the day included one at a mansion on Siesta Key that required a minimum contribution of $25,000 to attend. In 2021, DeSantis held a fundraiser in Boca Raton on August 18 at 5 p.m. The governor held three public events earlier that day, first appearing on the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Conference in Hollywood before holding afternoon press conferences in Pembroke Pines and West Palm Beach to announce latest monoclonal antibody treatment sites. Flight tracking data shows his plane flew from Tallahassee to Fort Lauderdale after which as much as West Palm Beach that day. DeSantis ended the day on the governor’s mansion, where he did an interview with FOX News host Sean Hannity.

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