Treasury tells Congress it is already looking into Florida’s use of federal dollars in Martha’s Vineyard transport

by | Oct 12, 2022

 

  • The U.S. Treasury told Sen. Ed Markey and six other members of Congress that it is auditing the state of Florida’s use of federal dollars to transport migrants from Texas to Massachusetts 
  • The state did not directly use federal COVID-19 funds, but state legislators earlier this year directed $12 million in interest earned off COVID-19 aid to be used to pay for the transport of unauthorized migrants, according to POLITICO Florida 
  • The Treasury will also monitor legislative and judicial challenges to the use of the funds for the way in which Florida is accused of using them
  • The Office of the Governor told The Capitolist that it remained in contact with the Treasury to ensure that all spending was done so according to legal permissions

The federal Treasury told Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and six additional federal lawmakers that it is auditing and potentially investigating the state of Florida for its alleged use of COVID-19 relief dollars to fund migrant flights between Texas and Massachusetts.

A group of federal lawmakers, including Markey, wrote to the Office of the Inspector General in September regarding Florida’s alleged use of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund to transport migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.

Markey on Wednesday took to Twitter to state that the Treasury responded to the letter, confirming that it will investigate the way in which the state used COVID relief to transport individuals under false pretenses.

“I applaud the swift response from the Treasury’s Office of the Inspector General,” said Markey. “For the sake of the migrants who were lured onto charter planes under false pretenses, and for the commendable Commonwealth residents who rallied together to offer support, I hope that this investigation sheds light on whether Governor DeSantis misused funds that were intended for COVID relief for Floridians.”

In its response to Markey, the Office of the Inspector General also said that it has already sought information from the state of Florida regarding appropriate use of the COVID recovery fund.

The Governor’s office, however, claims that everything has already been cleared with the Treasury.

“Weeks ago, the Office of Policy and Budget (OPB) spoke with the US Department of the Treasury’s (Treasury) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) about using interest gained from the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program to transport illegal immigrants voluntarily to sanctuary jurisdictions,” said Communication Director Taryn Fenske. “As stated under the SLFRF Compliance Requirements, ‘the following provisions do not apply to the SLFRF program: 2 CFR § 200.305 (b)(8) and (9).’

“OPB articulated to Treasury’s OIG that our use of this interest, as appropriated by the Florida Legislature, is permissible under the SLFRF Final Rule. Reviews by Treasury are typical and, as stated by the OIG, are ‘part of its oversight responsibilities.’”

Further, the agency would “review the allowability” of COVID-19 aid to states “related to immigration generally, and will specifically confirm whether interest earned on funds was utilized by Florida related to immigration activities,” according to initial reporting by POLITICO Florida.

Last month, DeSantis used two charter flights to transport 50 migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard. The governor stated the action was meant to draw attention to President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.

POLITICO additionally reported that Florida did not directly use federal COVID-19 funds to transport the migrants, but state legislators earlier this year directed $12 million in interest earned off COVID-19 aid to be used to pay for the transport of unauthorized migrants.

The letter to Markey states that the Treasury intends to conduct its proceedings as quickly as possible while also monitoring legislative and judicial challenges to the use of the funds for the way in which DeSantis allegedly used them.

3 Comments

  1. Raven

    And what has the old moron in the White House been doing? Where did he get the funds to send illegal immigrants to other states? And if they didn’t want illegals in there state. Why did they say they were a sanctuary state to begin with? Funny how a sanctuary state had them rounded up and sent to a military base within 24 hours. We have no idea what is crossing the border. And the democraps don’t care. As long as they are getting richer off the illegals they are happy. I can only hope that the terrorist they are letting in targets their families. Once they are affected maybe they will do something then. But as long as the illegals only rape, rob and kill us middle class. The democraps won’t do anything. They are busy settling up their families for kickbacks from the money we send to other countries.

    Reply
  2. dmmorrison

    This is about the moron in Tallahassee, who illegally used federal funds for a personal political stunt. That’s a crime. Other points: 1) The people DeSantis lied to before being abducted and flown to Massachusetts (at $32,000 a seat) were thoroughly legal asylum seekers. 2) They were welcomed, fed and housed by the good folks in Mass. They were moved to more comfortable quarters at an airbase equipped to help them a few miles away. They soon left that voluntarily for a nearby town, where they’ve found jobs, housing and schools for their kids. Too bad the right-wing bigots in Florida like “Raven” didn’t have the class to do any of that. They’re more interested in lining their pockets with federal money.

    Reply
  3. dolphincritic

    Maybe the Treasury should release the names of the members of the Federal Reserve and audit them.

    Reply

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