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Vaccines for Sale: Gov. Ron DeSantis Offering COVID-19 Shots for Campaign Donations

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Former GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner Writes Gov. Ron DeSantis $250,000 Check, Gets Pop-Up Clinic in His Neighborhood

Are you an old, white, rich Republican who needs a COVID-19 vaccine? For the low, low, price of $250,000, Ron DeSantis will set up an exclusive “pop-up clinic” in your neighborhood.

But seriously – the Miami Herald revealed yesterday that a wealthy gated community in the Florida Keys received COVID-19 vaccinations before much of the state, including some health care workers.

It appears Gov. DeSantis let the Ocean Reef Club’s members jump the line to boost his campaign reserves. The Herald reported, “The only people from Key Largo who gave to DeSantis’ political committee live in Ocean Reef. All 17 of them had given the governor contributions of $5,000 each through December 2020, according to the Florida Division of Elections.”

And on February 25th, resident Bruce Rauner, former GOP Illinois governor, increased his contribution to DeSantis, writing a $250,000 check. In total, DeSantis has raised $2.7 million in February alone, more than any other month since his run for governor in 2018.

Ocean Reef Club was only the beginning – DeSantis has been setting up pop-up clinics at other wealthy retirement communities too, favoring campaign donors and political power players over those who need vaccines the most. For instance, a clinic was established at Lakewood Ranch, a mostly white, affluent retirement community in Manatee County. Lakewood Ranch’s parent company is a DeSantis campaign donor. DeSantis reportedly struck a deal with the company’s CEO, Rex Jensen, to host a vaccination clinic in Lakewood, provided DeSantis only offer the vaccines to people living in two of the wealthiest zip codes in the county.

When local officials pointed out the inequities in Florida’s vaccine distribution, DeSantis threatened to pull vaccines from counties that criticize him.

“Ron DeSantis’ administration reeks of corruption,” said DGA Senior Communications Advisor Christina Amestoy. “While health care workers and vulnerable Floridians were patiently waiting their turn, DeSantis was selling their vaccines to the highest bidder. Let’s call this what it is: bribery, plain and simple.”