Politico Joins in on the Media Taking Aim at Ron DeSantis, Has the Same Problem Hitting the Target

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

As Politico touts a purported contradiction in the governor’s office, the details unravel the claims.

It has almost reached the level of being a rote practice: A new media hit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis comes out, and the initial reaction becomes, “Okay, how did they screw up the story THIS time…?!” The latest is a piece from Politico, and it follows that same predictable blueprint. It is something of an arcane set of details, but just the fact that alone was whipped up into a “gotcha” report is enough to see how this went off like a bottle rocket in a tropical storm – which is to say, it did not go off at all.


The report from Matt Dixon and Andrew Atterbury does initially sound curious. They detail that Florida has been paying a private company for services to provide Critical Race Theory, something that flies in direct contradiction to DeSantis making very public declarations that he would be expunging all manner of CRT content from Florida schools. It does sound curious – also, it does not sound right. Why would the state be doling out significant funding for something publicly declared to be blocked from state affairs?

Politico announced that it found contract work in Tallahassee with an outfit named MGT, and this is where the focus of things is directed. 

Florida currently contracts with Tallahassee-based MGT Consulting, a firm whose chairman and CEO is former Republican state Rep. Trey Traviesa. The company provides services such as creating “high-profile, racially sensitive studies that address social inequity and lead to recommendations for true social change.”

From here, however, all of the details are very roundabout. It turns out that yes, there is work that MGT had been hired for, but the company is not solely involved in delivering CRT-related curriculum and materials. It performs a number of services for governmental offices, and the hiring was indirect in regards to the Department of Education. It is at this point that more information needed to be gleaned to clarify this issue, something that seemed less than vital to the Politico writers.


The article is being disputed by a number of figures from the governor’s office. The Florida Department of Education has since explained the agency has “never contracted with MGT for anything related to Critical Race Theory” since DeSantis took office in 2019. Questions centered on some documents supplied by Dixon that show a spreadsheet of contracts with MGT. The governor’s Deputy Press Secretary, Bryan Griffin, looked over the data supplied and sees plenty of issues.

To start, the lengthy list concerned contracts from a number of other states. Two of the entries that did involve the State of Florida were not related to the DOE, as stated by the department’s director of communications, Alex Lanfranconi. He alerted the reporters that they had not received an initial response as they had reached out to the prior DoC, and has categorically denied that FDOE has hired the company for anything related to the controversial classroom content:

It is entirely false. We’ve never contracted with MGT for anything related to Critical Race Theory, since Governor Ron DeSantis took office.


Looking over the spreadsheet, most of the billing actions are listed as Technical Services – General Information. I reached out to the DOE to get a clarification on the type of work that had been contracted. As has been explained, the governor’s office is not charged with the hiring of vendors who work with various agencies, and on the matter of the specific work MGT performed, it has nothing to do with CRT.  

The payments are for staff augmentation for IT project management,” Lanfranconi explained to me. Then reiterated the denial. “The Department of Education has NEVER paid MGT for work related to Critical Race Theory since Governor Ron DeSantis took office.” The other contract appears under the office of the Department of Management Services, wholly unconnected to anything involving school curriculums or CRT.

It did not take long at all to gather these details, and yet, Politico ran with its story before getting a full assessment of explanations from the state workers. It also did not get any comment from MGT. Since publication, there has been added comment from the DOE, but the article still bears the subheading carrying all the implications; Florida contracts with Tallahassee-based MGT Consulting to create studies that address “social inequity.”

Nowhere in the piece is there a direct connection made to this claim. MGT provides these services, the company has a contract with Florida, and it has given CRT services to other states. Politico places all the dots out there, but it never gets to the point of actually connecting them. In trying to impugn DeSantis, the report is little more than supposition.


His state pays hundreds of thousands of dollars to a consulting firm that embraces and teaches racial inclusivity? The difference is they do not pay for those services. Politico will not take the step of explaining that vital detail.


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