- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida taxpayers are spending millions to guard Gov. Rick Scott and provide security for visiting politicians who routinely come to the Sunshine State.

The state spent more than $3.29 million on security expenses between July 2016 and June 2017, according to a new report released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Tuesday. That’s about 21.5 percent more than the previous fiscal year’s security costs.

Most of the total was to provide around-the-clock protection for the governor and First Lady Ann Scott and to pay for security at the governor’s mansion. That includes the salaries and travel expenses for the agents who guard Scott wherever he goes.

John Tupps, a spokesman for Scott, pointed out that the state’s law-enforcement agency is in charge of deciding security arrangement for the governor.

But the amount spent on Scott’s security has grown during his time in office. Scott, who has been in office since 2011, has taken numerous trade mission trips abroad and out of state. He also frequently travels to the nation’s capital and to events connected with the Republican Governors Association.

Included in the total for the past year is nearly $305,000 that Florida paid to provide security details to visiting politicians, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Part of that total included $402 spent on security last year for President Bill Clinton and $329 for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The state spent nearly $100,000 to provide security for two meetings hosted by the Republican Governors Association: The annual RGA conference held last November in Orlando and May event held in Miami.

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