Florida had to spend a lot more to protect DeSantis and his family last year

·2 min read
Jim Turner/News Service of Florida

The costs of protecting Gov. Ron DeSantis, his family, the governor’s mansion and visiting dignitaries were up more than 25% during the past year, according to a new state report.

Florida taxpayers spent more than $6.097 million during the 2021-22 fiscal year on protective services for the first family and visiting officials. The bulk of the costs, $5.94 million, went to guarding DeSantis and members of his family, along with securing the governor’s mansion, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s annual “Report of Transportation and Protective Services.”

In the 2020-21 fiscal year, costs approached $4.85 million, with nearly $4.82 million going to guarding DeSantis and other members of his family.

During the 2019-20 fiscal year, costs to protect DeSantis, the first family and the governor’s mansion were a similar $4.78 million.

While offering cost totals, the new report doesn’t outline how security details were staffed or how they operated for the governor and visiting dignitaries.

The report also said $399,098 spent in the past fiscal year on mansion security didn’t include Capitol Police hours.

The overall costs were topped by nearly $4.766 million spent on DeSantis, with more than $2.375 million going for the salaries of law-enforcement officers who provided security for the governor and $2.391 million for costs tied to transportation. In the 2020-21 fiscal year, $3.82 million was spent protecting the governor, with $1.984 million for transportation.

Costs for protecting first lady Casey DeSantis and other members of the family in 2021-22 topped $777,000, with $455,665 going to law-enforcement salaries and $64,312 tied to the first lady’s transportation. The governor and first lady have three young children.

In the 2020-21 fiscal year, those costs totaled $463,000.

The report also listed 74 expenses, totaling about $154,095, to provide protective details for visiting dignitaries.

The report said state law requires the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to provide security to people visiting the state for whom “failure to provide security or transportation could result in a clear and present danger to the personal safety of such persons or could result in public embarrassment to the state.”

The biggest expense, $40,781 for security and transportation, was for a three-day Republican Governors Association meeting in December in Miami.

Protective services also were provided to the governors of 27 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, along with one-time security details involving the consul general of Israel and the U.S. labor secretary.