Ron DeSantis transporting asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard was 'clearly not a state action'

Ron DeSantis transporting asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard was 'clearly not a state action'
Image via Gage Skidmore.

Last week the news media was filled with reporters and many others investigating Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ transporting 50 asylum-seeking Venezuelans to Martha’s Vineyard, with the week ending on reports the State of Florida paid Vertol Systems $615,000 to execute the flights.

“Vertol Sytems is owned by James Montgomerie,” attorney Daniel Uhlfelder, a Democrat who ran for Florida Attorney General, says. “Vertol also is managing member of [a] company affiliated with Destin developer Jay Odom called Zeppelin Holdings. Odom went to prison for laundering campaign funds for Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign.”

Why the media has moved on from digging deeper into this story is something Talking Points Memo‘s award-winning founder, editor, and publisher, Josh Marshall is wondering – while warning more work needs to be done.

“There seems to be a legitimate argument that what happened broke federal laws because the individuals were induced to get on a plane and travel across state lines based on false information,” Marshall writes. “What should interest us more than the specific laws is that this clearly was not a state action.”

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“You cannot look at any of this and think it was the work of government workers. Just not how those people operate. This is not to mention the fact that it still hasn’t been explained how or why the state of Florida had people prowling around a refugee center in Texas looking for people who could be coaxed to get on a plane which would fly surreptitiously to Martha’s Vineyard.”

“There’s a big story here,” Marshall adds, “and it’s no surprise that DeSantis is refusing to answer specific questions.”

On Twitter Marshall makes other insinuations, saying that the “national press is going to have egg on its face when it turns out there’s a big story of a governor working with an extra-legal outside group to essentially cross country kidnap a group of migrants.”

Earlier Monday Judd Legum of Popular Information published a brochure the Venezuelan refugees say they were given by someone rounding them up before the plane flew to Martha’s Vineyard.

That brochure falsely “says that migrants who arrive in Massachusetts will be eligible for numerous benefits, including ‘8 months cash assistance,’ ‘assistance with housing,’ ‘food,’ ‘clothing,’ ‘transportation to job interviews,’ ‘job training,’ ‘job placement,’ ‘registering children for school,’ ‘assistance applying for Social Security cards,’ and many other benefits.”

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