Florida Democratic Party Chair Calls on Ron DeSantis to Release Receipts, Transcripts from Trips to Far Right Conferences

Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo sent a letter to former Congressman Ron DeSantis calling on him to release the receipts from his 2016 trip to the David Horowitz Freedom Center conference in Charleston, South Carolina, the transcripts of his remarks at the 2013 and 2016 conferences he attended (which are not publicly available), and his schedules from each year he attended the conference.

September 10, 2018

Dear Mr. DeSantis:

I read with great concern in the Washington Post about your attendance at “racially charged” David Horowitz Freedom Center conferences in Palm Beach and Charleston, South Carolina, in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The Post report raises deeply troubling questions about your judgement and why you choose to associate yourself with fringe individuals who seek to divide our country. The article also reveals a startling lack of transparency. Your campaign told the Post that “the congressman or his campaign paid his expenses in 2015 and 2016, so no disclosure filing was required. His campaign produced receipts for only the 2015 trip.” The failure to disclose the 2016 receipts raises a number of serious questions about this trip: Who paid for your appearance at the conference in 2016? Why did you refuse to disclose those receipts to The Washington Post? Did you actually pay for your own travel — or was someone else funding your stay?

Finally, will you release a transcript of your remarks from 2013 and 2016 and a schedule of your meetings at the conference from all four years?

It’s time to come clean about your full association with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as a hate group. Florida voters deserve a full accounting and understanding of who paid for your attendance at these conferences — and what you told conference attendees. I am calling on you to immediately release your receipts from your 2016 trip to the David Horowitz Freedom Center conference in Charleston, South Carolina, and the transcripts from your remarks at the 2013 and 2016 conferences.

These trips were made while you were a member of Congress representing the people of Florida’s sixth Congressional District. Your constituents deserve to know what you told the Freedom conference and who was paying for your travel. And before making their choice for governor, voters deserve to know who has funded your travel and what you said at “racially charged” events.


Terrie Rizzo
Chairwoman, Florida Democratic Party