Gov. Ron DeSantis is in a race to the bottom with himself, constantly seeking new ways to make the Florida government worse: more cruel, bigoted, and authoritarian. Every state office, major and minor, is a chance for DeSantis to impose a little more of his vision. And on Wednesday, he offered up a doozy: He announced the appointment of Moms for Liberty co-founder Tina Descovich to the Florida Commission on Ethics.
Descovich is a former member of the Brevard County school board, but Moms for Liberty is her calling card. The organization, founded by Descovich and two other Florida women in 2021, is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-government organization spreading “messages of anti-inclusion and hate.” The group has quickly become known for moves like trying to get children's books on the Civil Rights Movement removed from schools, and an Indiana chapter being forced to apologize for quoting Adolf Hitler approvingly in its newsletter. It has been embraced by top Republicans. DeSantis in particular has sought to ally himself with Moms for Liberty, and his Descovich ethics appointment should help with that campaign.
The Florida Commission on Ethics is not some powerless task force that turns out occasional reports on good behavior, either:
The Florida Commission on Ethics is a nine-member Commission with a staff of approximately twenty-five employees located in Tallahassee, that serves as the guardian of the standards of conduct for officers and employees of Florida and its political subdivisions and functions as an independent commission responsible for investigating and issuing public reports on complaints of breach of the public trust by public officers and employees. The Commission also renders legally binding advisory opinions interpreting the ethics laws and implements the State's financial disclosure laws.
Any guesses which public officers and employees will be subject to the investigations and public reports for breach of the public trust issued by an ethics commission with a Moms for Liberty co-founder on it? This appointment will expand DeSantis’ efforts to demonize and drive out of government anyone who isn’t on board with the far-right DeSantis program.
“The Florida Ethics Commission is charged with serving as the guardian of the standards of conduct for public officers and employees as well as safeguarding public trust,” Descovich tweeted in response to the announcement. This is someone whose mission is spreading hate, and she’s talking about how she’s going to safeguard public trust. It’s reprehensible—and exactly what you’d expect of both Moms for Liberty and DeSantis.
Descovich’s appointment is subject to state senate approval, but that shouldn’t be a problem given the heavily Republican Florida senate.
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