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Florida taxpayers spent nearly $3 million to protect Scott, visitors

Florida is a popular destination not just for tourists but for out-of-state politicians.

Dozens of them passed through the state over the past year, and Florida taxpayers paid for their security whiile they're here to the tune of more than half a million dollars. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported Friday that it spent $530,000 over the past year for transportation and protective services for out-of-state politicians, from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who had FDLE protection when he attended Gov. Rick Scott's inauguration ceremonies in January.

State law provides that FDLE agents provide transportation and security for visiting governors and their families, for business and pleasure, "upon request by the governor." The law also requires the agency to report the costs annually.

FDLE also reported spending $2.4 million to protect Scott, First Lady Ann Scott, family members and the grounds of the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee. The total cost for those services was slightly higher than for the previous year.

In its report, FDLE cited $216,000 to provide security and transportation for Attorney General Pam Bondi because of a "credible threat" made against the state's chief legal officer. The stepped-up security ended last month, but the investigation continues, FDLE said.

FDLE also spent $88,000 for a Republican Governors' Association conference in Florida last November. The runaway winners for most visits to Florida over the past year were Christie and his wife and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and his family, who each received taxpayer-funded security and transportation 10 times at a combined cost to Florida taxpayers of nearly $37,000.