By: Lewis Kamb
Ron DeSantis is the only Florida governor known to use “executive privilege” to keep records hidden, experts say, and recently signed a law barring release of his travel records
As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis campaigns for the White House, government accountability watchdogs are pointing to the long shadow of secrecy cast by his administration.
In the four years since DeSantis took office, his administration has routinely stonewalled the release of public records, approved a slew of new legal exceptions aimed at keeping more information out of the public eye, and waged legal battles against open government advocates, the press and other watchdogs.
DeSantis, a Harvard-educated lawyer and former U.S. attorney, is the only Florida governor known to use “executive privilege” to keep records hidden, transparency advocates and experts said.
His travel records, previously under scrutiny by the media, are now secret, thanks to a new legal exemption — one of a record number created in 2023 by the Republican-led Legislature and approved by the governor.
DeSantis also has fought to conceal information about some of the most significant events during his tenure, including withholding Covid infection data and blocking release of records about the controversial relocation of dozens of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, legal filings show.