Rep. Charlie Crist calls for DOJ investigation into DeSantis’ vaccine distribution

Representative Charlie Crist, a former Florida governor, is calling for an investigation into the current governor, accusing him of favoring political allies and donors when it comes to deciding where the state should open vaccination distribution sites.

Crist revealed Sunday he wrote a letter to the DOJ claiming the governor is setting up COVID-19 vaccination drives at sites that "seem to be targeted to wealthy communities with whom Governor DeSantis has clear political connections, allowing some to skip to the front of the line in counties with existing waitlists."

Crist used the recent pop-up vaccination site in Manatee County as an example in which some county commissioners criticized the way those communities were selected. One said the state’s vaccine pop-up site was brought into the "whitest and richest" Lakewood Ranch

The former governor argued that Lakewood Ranch’s parent company is owned by a Republican who donated nearly a million dollars to Governor DeSantis.

READ: Manatee commissioner's name on hand-picked list of vaccine recipients, records show

The accusation comes after Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh issued an apology for providing a list of vaccination locations, primarily from Lakewood Ranch, instead of using the county’s lottery system.

When the site opened, Gov. DeSantis responded by saying he was targeting areas with a high concentration of seniors.

"There was no choice to pick certain ZIP codes," DeSantis argued last week. "We wanted to find communities that have high levels of seniors and this obviously has a high concentration. This is in addition to everything that’s provided to Manatee County. This is totally supplementary to that."