GOP Sells Vaccine Queue Seats in Florida
Wealthy GOP donors receive vaccination privileges after generous donations. Commissioner Nikki Fried publicly blamed Gov. Ron DeSantis in creating a secret vaccine auction for the wealthiest people in Florida.
“The fact pattern is simply just too clear to avoid: Give campaign contribution, big dollars, get special access to vaccines — ahead of seniors, ahead of our teachers, ahead of our farmworkers, and so many of our residents here in the state of Florida,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “If this isn’t public corruption, I don’t know what is.”
Senior Democrats, including the state’s highest-ranking elected Democrat Nikki Fried and Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) Called on the FBI and DOJ to investigate Gov. Ron DeSantis for providing paid benefits.
As grounds for his investigation, Fried cites the Miami Herald report that residents of Miami's wealthiest neighborhood were vaccinated in January, while the rest of the state received no shots.
“As Florida’s eldest residents struggled to sign up to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, nearly all those aged 65 years and older in a wealthy gated enclave in the Florida Keys had been vaccinated by mid-January, according to an emailed newsletter obtained by the Miami Herald.”
Based on Fried's statement, all of the vaccinated made very generous donations to the Republican Party fund, for which they outstripped the entire state in the vaccination queue.
Three Florida communities chosen by DeSantis for vaccine sites were developed by real estate mogul Pat Neal, who contributed $125,000 to DeSantis in 2018 and 2019, the newspaper reported. The governor raised $2.7 million in campaign donations last month alone, the most of a single month since 2018, the Herald noted.
Image: Monroe County BOCC / Flickr