Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) wants the state to invest in a massive new effort to investigate Donald Trump's debunked claims of massive election fraud.
"The new Office of Election Crime and Security, likely the first of its kind in any state, would give DeSantis and future governors unprecedented authority over election-related investigations," the Miami Herald reports. "It would employ 45 investigators, a $5.7 million budget and a broad mandate to look into violations of state election law and election 'irregularities.'"
The newspaper explains the new proposal came after DeSantis faced "accusations from the GOP base that he still isn’t doing enough to support former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud."
DeSantis asked legislators to address his proposal at the 2022 legislative session when it begins in January.
"Under pressure to conduct an audit of the 2020 election results, DeSantis has been called out by a Tallahassee billboard and threatened with a primary challenge in next year’s governor’s race by Roger Stone, a former Trump confidant," the newspaper reported. "Even some Republicans appear lukewarm to the idea. Even though the office was proposed in November, no bill has been drafted yet."
While there have not been widespread allegations of voter fraud in Florida, three Republicans in The Villages were arrested for fraudulently casting multiple ballots.
One key Trump ally thinks other states should "follow what Florida is doing."
"If approved, the new office would be the first in any state dedicated to investigating and prosecuting election-related crimes," said Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, which promotes legislation restricting voting access. Von Spakovsky, a polarizing figure in the world of voting rights who was on Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, likes the idea of an Office of Election Crime and Security," the newspaper reported.
Trump's commission disbanded after being unable to find any evidence of widespread voter fraud.
DeSantis is proposing hiring 20 law enforcement investigators, 25 civilian investigators, and new prosecutors.
“What in the world are 52 investigators going to do all year long?" Andrew Warren, Hillsborough County’s state attorney wondered. "Wait for the phone to ring?”
Palm Beach County Chief Assistant State Attorney Alan Johnson described the size of the proposed office as “swatting a mosquito with a sledgehammer.”
Read the full report.