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Feds Probe FL Gov DeSantis' Use Of COVID Aid To Relocate Migrants

A watchdog group in the U.S. Treasury Department plans to examine whether Florida’s government properly used federal pandemic recovery money in connection with last month’s efforts to relocate migrants, an agency official told the Massachusetts congressional delegation, McClatchy Newspapers reports. Richard Delmar, the Treasury Department’s deputy inspector general, wrote that his department plans “to get this work underway as quickly as possible,” as part of its broader oversight of Florida’s use of funds allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act last year. Delmar was responding to a request from members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, who called on the department to investigate what the lawmakers deemed a misuse of pandemic relief money. In September, a relocation program authorized by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis transported almost 50 migrants from San Antonio, to Martha’s Vineyard by airplane, setting off a firestorm over the increase of immigrants arriving at the southern border and whether the Republican governor was using human beings as political pawns.

The $12 million migrant relocation program authorized by the Florida legislature was paid for by interest earned from federal COVID-19 relief money. DeSantis Communications Director Taryn Fenske said that officials with the state’s Office of Policy and Budget have already spoken with the inspector general’s office about the use of interest to pay for the migrant relocation program, telling the federal agency that doing so was permitted under the rules. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) praised what he called the deputy inspector general’s “swift response.”


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