The Biden administration has opened an investigation into Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ flight of migrants from the US-Mexico border to Martha’s Vineyard.

The Treasury Department is probing whether the Republican DeSantis — a potential 2024 contender for president — misused COVID-19 relief funds to ship dozens of migrants to the wealthy liberal enclave last month, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) revealed Wednesday.

The Treasury’s inspector general informed Markey and other Massachusetts members of Congress late last week that it planned to examine the Sunshine State’s migrant spending as part of an ongoing audit into how COVID funds have been used.

Specifically, the office said in an Oct. 7 letter that it will look at whether interest earned on State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) grants was “utilized by Florida relation to immigration activities and if so, what conditions and limitations apply to such use.”

The department is looking to see if DeSantis misused COVID funds for his migrant flights to Martha's vineyard.
The Treasury Department has opened an investigation into Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ flight of migrants from the border to Martha’s Vineyard.
AFP via Getty Images

The watchdog added that it planned to get this work “underway as quickly as possible.”

“As part of its oversight responsibility for the SLFRF, Treasury Office of Inspector General has audit work planned on recipients’ compliance with eligible use guidance,” the letter said.

“In addition, as part of our oversight work of the Coronavirus Relief Fund established by the CARES Act, we have already sought information from Florida about appropriate use of that fund.”

The probe comes after Markey and five House members wrote to the inspector general’s office last month demanding an investigation into DeSantis’ spending after the Florida Republican sent nearly 50 Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.

This comes after Markey and five House members wrote to the inspector general's office last month demanding an investigation into DeSantis' spending.
DeSantis sent nearly 50 Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.
via REUTERS

“I applaud the swift response from the Treasury’s Office of the Inspector General,” Markey said in response to the letter. “… I hope that this investigation sheds light on whether Gov. DeSantis misused funds that were intended for COVID relief for Floridians.”

Florida’s state legislature passed a bipartisan budget earlier this year to set aside $12 million in interest off COVID aid for a program to help “the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state consistent with federal law.”

DeSantis, who is favored to win a second term as Florida governor next month, tapped into that funding for the two migrant flights.

Florida's state legislature passed a bipartisan budget earlier this year to set aside $12 million in interest off COVID aid for a program to help “the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state consistent with federal law.”
State Sen. Jason Pizzo filed a lawsuit against DeSantis in a bid to ban him from using state money for any future flights.
Office of Gov DeSantis

Florida State Sen. Jason Pizzo, a Democrat who represents the Miami region, filed a lawsuit against DeSantis last month in a bid to ban him from using state money for any future flights.

Pizzo, who voted in favor of the budget, accused DeSantis of manipulating the language because the migrants were never in Florida — except for when their planes stopped over briefly before heading to the Massachusetts island.

The Democrat also argued the migrants aren’t “unauthorized aliens” because they are seeking asylum and have legal status within the US.

DeSantis was also hit with a class-action lawsuit over the flights alleging a “fraudulent and discriminatory scheme” to transport the migrants. That suit alleged migrants were duped into boarding the planes in Texas with promises of jobs and gift cards.



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