'We don’t appoint a king': Ron DeSantis critics push back against 'executive privilege' claims

'We don’t appoint a king': Ron DeSantis critics push back against 'executive privilege' claims

During his four years in the White House, Donald Trump often claimed “executive privilege” in order to avoid cooperating with investigations he disliked. And he isn’t the only far-right MAGA Republican who has used that concept. Someone who may be running against Trump in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, is now claiming executive privilege, according to Orlando Sentinel reporter Skyler Swisher.

But DeSantis’ critics are pushing back, stressing that he is an elected official — not a monarch.

Reporting for the Orlando Sentinel on January 24, Swisher explains, “Gov. Ron DeSantis is using a legal concept historically wielded by the president of the United States as a justification to keep some information secret, sparking concerns from open-government advocates that Florida’s public records laws could be undermined. DeSantis has invoked executive privilege on several occasions in recent court battles, a right that is not defined in state law or mentioned in the Florida Constitution.”

READ MORE:Ron DeSantis pushing to ban COVID-19 protection measures as cases and deaths rise

Swisher adds, “Most recently, a Leon County judge recognized executive privilege in an order denying a public records request seeking the identities of ‘legal conservative heavyweights’ DeSantis consulted when picking state Supreme Court justices. That ruling isn’t binding on the courts, and other judges haven’t recognized a right to executive privilege in Florida.”

The Orlando Sentinel reporter notes that although the concept of executive privilege goes back to the United States’ Founding Fathers, it wasn’t actually mentioned in a U.S. Supreme Court case until the U.S. v. Nixon ruling in 1974.

Michael Barfield, director of public access for the watchdog group Florida Center for Government Accountability, is highly critical of the way in which DeSantis has been invoking executive privilege.

Barfield told the Orlando Sentinel, “We consent to be governed. We don’t appoint a king. We don’t elect someone and have no tools by which to hold them accountable. The Public Records Act is an essential tool by which citizens can be informed about what its government is up to.”

READ MORE: Watch: Ron DeSantis proposes 'no tax on gas stoves' to give Floridians a 'choice' that they already have

Read the Orlando Sentinel’s full story at this link.

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