By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org
Two weeks after his previous choice for ethics commissioner quit after his conflict-of-interest was exposed, Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed controversial Moms for Liberty co-founder Tina Descovich to fill a seat on the Florida Commission on Ethics.
Descovich was a member of the Brevard County School Board from 2016 to 2020. She describes herself on her X (formerly Twitter) account as “Daughter of God/wife/mom/Lover of Life & Liberty.”
She wrote this Wednesday afternoon about her appointment, “The Florida Ethics Commission is charged with serving as the guardian of the standards of conduct for public officers and employees as well as safeguarding public trust. It will be a privilege to serve the state I love as a member of this commission.”
On Aug. 22, ethics commission chairman Glenton “Glen” Gilzean Jr. resigned – a week after Florida Bulldog first reported his conflict-of-interest by holding public employment as the $400,000-a-year job as administrator of the Central Florida special district that Florida removed from the control of the Walt Disney Company.
DeSantis had appointed Gilzean to the ethic commission three times. The governor’s handpicked board at the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District gave Gilzean the lucrative job as administrator.
Descovich’s term, which requires Senate confirmation, is for two years. At the same time, DeSantis also appointed Coral Gables attorney Luis Fuste to the ethics commission, replacing Broward’s Jim Waldman, whose term ended June 30.
MOMS FOR LIBERTY VS. WOKE
Moms for Liberty is a school grievance faction closely allied with DeSantis that the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled as “anti-government” in its report, “The Year in Hate and Extremism 2022.” The SPLC has promoted civil rights and has called out bigotry and promoted racial justice for over 50 years.
Moms for Liberty members “combat what they consider the ‘woke indoctrination’ of children by advocating for book bans in school libraries and endorsing candidates for public office that align with the group’s views,” the SPLC report states.
“They also use their multiple social media platforms to target teachers and school officials, advocate for the abolition of the [U.S.] Department of Education, advance conspiracy propaganda, and spread hateful imagery and rhetoric against the LGBTQ community,” the report says.
Jen Cousins, co-founder of the Florida Freedom to Read Project, told Florida Bulldog in June that Moms for Liberty’s mission is “to destroy public education…They want to see everything moved to vouchers and private schools.”
Among other things, Moms for Liberty members had Nobel laureate Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” yanked off bookshelves in Pinellas County schools, but after an uproar the district restored the novel to its curriculum.
DESANTIS, TRUMP AND ‘MOMS’
Moms for Liberty did not grant Florida Bulldog an interview, but released this statement from co-founders Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich in response to the SPLC report: “Our organization is devoted to empowering parents to be a part of their child’s public school education.
“That is our fundamental goal, which began just two years ago when teachers’ unions locked students out of schools during the pandemic. Empowering parents continues to be our mission today and that has fueled our organization’s growth – like wildfire to now 45 states in the country.
Indeed, the group’s widespread growth has caught the attention of Republican presidential hopefuls. DeSantis and former President Donald Trump, currently the leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, gathered with hundreds of “parental rights” advocates in Philadelphia in June at the Moms For Liberty Joyful Warriors National Summit.
Moms for Liberty was incorporated in Florida in January 2021 and has at least 32 chapters in the state, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.