Florida’s chief financial officer wants to use taxpayer dollars to pay Trump’s legal fees

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By Giselle Balido

November 13, 2023

Claiming that Florida is in “the best fiscal health we’ve ever been,” the state’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, proposed using part of the state’s budget to defend candidates like Donald Trump from prosecution.

As Floridians continue to struggle with unaffordable housing, highest in the country insurance premiums, and one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation, Jimmy Patronis–the state’s Chief Financial Officer–has proposed a plan that would see former President Donald Trump’s legal fees paid for by state funds collected from taxpayers.

Patronis’ idea comes as Trump, a billionaire who complained when Forbes removed him from their list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, has used roughly $37 million dollars in donations to his political action committee to pay 60 law firms and individual attorneys since Jan. 2022, according to the Associated Press.

Trump faces 91 felony counts in four separate criminal cases across the country, including one in Florida. The cases in Washington D.C., and Georgia are related to his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden, the Florida case centers on his alleged mishandling of classified documents, and the New York case hinges on the allegation that he falsified business records, among other charges.

RELATED: Florida home insurance premiums are devastating residents

But according to Patronis, Trump’s legal woes are nothing but “a witch hunt” perpetrated by President Biden and liberal prosecutors.

“Everyone, and I mean that literally, should be outraged by how our justice system is being weaponized by partisan, left-wing Democrats,” Patronis said at the Florida Republican Party’s Freedom Summit last week.

He then floated the idea to set up a new legal defense fund for any Florida presidential candidate to use “when they are targeted by politically motivated prosecutors, by the Department of Justice.”

Claiming that Florida is in “the best fiscal health we’ve ever been in the history of the state,” Patronis proposed taking part of the state’s budget surplus to create the “Defending Florida Fighters Fund” that would “protect any Floridian who wants to defend themselves and make sure that these politically motivated prosecutors don’t magically appear during election cycles.”

RELATED: ‘Why Did It Become So Expensive?’: Florida’s High Costs Are Pushing Residents to the Brink

Patronis’ proposal, however, went over like a lead balloon for many hardworking Floridians who are seeing rent and property insurance prices skyrocket. In fact, many are losing their homes or having to move out because they can’t afford the highest-in-the-country insurance property costs.

“I still can’t believe the state’s Chief Financial Officer […] proposed taking tax dollars to fund Trump legal defense against criminal indictments,” Ron Filipkowski, the editor-in-chief of the liberal media outlet MeidasTouch, wrote on X. “Every time I think they can’t shock me, there’s always something worse coming.”

Despite Patronis’ claims of a witch hunt targeting Trump, a majority of Americans (54%) think the ex-president should be prosecuted on criminal charges, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released earlier this year.

Author

  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.

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