© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks after the first election for the midterms throughout the “Maintain Florida Free Tour” at Pepin’s Hospitality Centre in Tampa, Florida, U.S., August 24, 2022. REUTERS/Octavio Jones/File Photograph
By Moira Warburton
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury is investigating whether or not Florida Governor Ron DeSantis improperly used federal funds to pay for flights transporting migrants from Texas to Massachusetts, the division confirmed in a letter to U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday.
The Republican governor took credit score for flying about 50 migrants final month to the island of Martha’s Winery, off the coast of Massachusetts, in a transfer supposed to attract extra consideration to the rise in crossings on the U.S.-Mexico border forward of the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
Democrats and migrant rights advocates decried the transfer, in addition to a marketing campaign by Texas and Arizona that bused 1000’s of migrants to cities, together with Washington, New York and Chicago, as utilizing folks as “political pawns.”
DeSantis, who’s up for re-election in November and can also be seen as a possible 2024 White Home contender, stated the flights have been organized to name consideration to Democratic President Joe Biden’s immigration insurance policies.
Democratic Senator Ed Markey and different federal lawmakers from Massachusetts despatched a letter to the Treasury shortly after the flights, asking it to look at whether or not DeSantis used curiosity from federal COVID-19 loans to pay for the flights.
The Treasury has requested for extra particulars on how Florida used cash obtained or derived from a fund supposed to help states throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, based on a response to the lawmakers from Richard Okay. Delmar, deputy inspector normal for the division.
Investigators will rule on whether or not Florida used curiosity from the fund for the flights and whether or not that is permitted, Delmar stated, including they “will get this work underway as shortly as potential.”
DeSantis’ workplace didn’t instantly reply to a Reuters request for remark.
In a press release on Wednesday, Markey stated he applauded the division’s swift response.
“For the sake of the migrants who have been lured onto constitution planes beneath false pretenses, and for the commendable Commonwealth residents who rallied collectively to supply help, I hope that this investigation sheds mild on whether or not Governor DeSantis misused funds that have been supposed for COVID reduction for Floridians,” he stated.
A Texas county sheriff final month opened a legal investigation into the flights.