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Treasury Department to probe spending of public funds for DeSantis's migrant flights

Liz Lerner
A bus shuttles the group of about 50 migrants to Joint Base Cape Cod on September 16th.

The U.S. Treasury Department is examining Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s use of public funds when he flew about 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard last month.

The Treasury’s Office of Inspector General has asked Florida for information about its spending as part of ongoing audits of how states have spent federal pandemic relief money.

But it appears to be more than a routine audit.

The office is also looking at whether Florida used interest earnings on pandemic relief money for immigration purposes — which includes moving the migrants — and whether that’s allowable.

The deputy inspector general of the Treasury, Richard Delmar, described the review in a letter to several members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, who asked last month for an investigation.

Congressman Bill Keating said the flights are not what the money was intended for.

“This use of the money clearly doesn't fall into [pandemic relief],” he said. “Indeed, this is money that was meant to help the recovery from the historic and harmful effects of the pandemic.”

"They're not personal funds … to advance what I consider his unbridled ambition to be president,” Keating said.

The Florida governor is also facing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the migrants.

Keating said DeSantis could be held personally liable in that case.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.