Ron DeSantis Continues To Waste Taxpayer Funds To Pay For His Unconstitutional Culture Wars
from the the-lawyers-own-you dept
Remember when Republicans pretended they were the party of fiscal responsibility, not wasting taxpayer money, and limited government? Sure, sure, you say, that was all just sloganeering, and never actually true in practice, but it’s really starkly on display in Florida, where governor (and wannabe 2024 Presidential candidate) Ron DeSantis has taken this all to new levels. Sure, sometimes he still makes statements with those old GOP slogans and tag lines, but he’s taken big, intrusive government to new levels, stripping rights away from those he dislikes, and having no problem wasting taxpayer funds so long as it helps him wage a culture war that gets him headlines and sycophantic adoration from a new bevy of brainwashed fans.
A few months ago we wrote about how Florida had already wasted approximately $700k of taxpayer funds in its quixotic attempt to ignore the 1st Amendment and force social media companies to moderate the way Ron DeSantis wanted them to. At that time, Florida had already had the law blocked by a district court as unconstitutional. And, since then Florida has also lost on appeal at the 11th Circuit, which similarly declared effectively all of the law unconstitutional (with a ruling from a Trump-appointed judge).
Of course, eventually the bill comes due for all of that, and it appears that last week, Florida had to hand over some of its taxpayers dollars to the law firm of Cooper & Kirk. Florida’s CFO has now made the contract public, and we can see that Florida has now approved $1,030,000 to be paid to the law firm for the case, and after cutting a check for $171,526 last week, has now shelled out a total of $848,800 to have multiple courts explain to them how DeSantis and the Florida legislature is violating the 1st Amendment rights of everyone with this law.
Notably, the Florida government initially only set aside $80,000 for the lawyers but have had to amend that three times to get up to the current slightly over $1 million number, and I’d imagine they’ll need to amend it some more before all this is done. Especially as the official “ending” date of this allocation is later this month, and there are still more legal games to be played as Florida tries to get its censor law in place.
The most recent amendment, in March, notes that the law firm should let the state know when its surpassed $900k in total funding, so I imagine that when that happens in the very near future, DeSantis will write another blank check for the law firm to keep spending Florida taxpayer dollars on its high priced DC lawyers.
At least it appears the local media is picking up on this. The Orlando Sentinel recently dubbed DeSantis “God’s gift to lawyers” for his willingness to take money from struggling Floridians in these tough times, and hand it to wealthy DC lawyers for the sake of putting on some theater they know they’re going to lose.
More courtroom battles loom.
DeSantis, a Harvard law graduate, is defending legal challenges to his congressional redistricting map, his “anti-woke” law and legislation known by critics as the “don’t say gay” law. The federal courts also struck down a sweeping gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida that would have brought sports betting to the state.
“DeSantis is God’s gift to lawyers,” said Bob Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University. “He is interested in playing to the base, owning liberals and trying to position himself for the 2024 presidential election. He doesn’t care if laws are constitutional. He doesn’t care if laws stand up in court.”
And that article was written before the latest $171k bill was paid…
Of course, as the article notes, Floridians who support DeSantis seem to absolutely love that he’s wasting their money this way, showing once again, the claims about being fiscally conservative and believing in small government are nothing but theater. The whole thing is all culture war, all the time. It’s fine for DeSantis to throw away their money, just so long as they can all pretend he’s “owning the libs” in the process.