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Ron DeSantis Just Appointed Moms for Liberty Cofounder to Florida Ethics Commission

Ron DeSantis Just Appointed Moms for Liberty Cofounder to Florida Ethics Commission

Tina Descovich

The group has been labeled an anti-government extremist organization.

A cofounder of Moms for Liberty, a far-right organization that has attempted to take over school boards across the country and has been labeled an anti-government extremist group, was appointed to the Florida Ethics Commission by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday.

In this new role, Tina Descovich will be part of a nine-member committee that investigates claims of state employees and officials violating public trust.

Previously, Descovich was president of the Florida Coalition of School Board Members, and she served on the school board of Brevard County in 2016, the Associated Press reports.

Influential in Republican politics because of its close relationship with high-profile conservative groups and politicians, Moms for Liberty was founded in 2021 by Descovich and two other Florida women to oppose COVID-19 regulations.

The Republican governor spoke to a crowd at a Moms for Liberty event in Tampa last year. In Philadelphia earlier this year, he was joined by leading fellow Republican contenders for the 2024 nomination.

Mapping the U.S. Right — Moms for Liberty Interactive Network

Moms for Liberty opposes LGBTQ+ topics and discussions in schools as well as conversations about race or racism, which they believe could make some kids feel uncomfortable. They've supported book bans and restrictions on bathroom and school facility usage by transgender students. The group also has supported laws against the use of preferred pronouns and "don't say gay" laws.

The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors extremism and categorizes Moms for Liberty as an anti-government extremist group.

Independent researcher and journalist Teddy Wilson, who monitors domestic extremism, has researched the group’s appeal.

No single force has driven the far-right movement's recent progress in the U.S., Wilson says. However, Moms for Liberty has emerged as one of the most robust networks of activists on the state and local levels, he notes.

Wilson spearheaded a project that maps the connections between Moms for Liberty members, other far-right extremist groups, and other conservative players, which he published at Radical Reports on Substack.

Mapping the U.S. Right Visualization of Moms for Liberty Chapter Networks by Teddy

Wilson explained during an interview with The Advocate that Moms for Liberty is thriving because people who support it have been radicalized.

“During those first couple of years, we saw a lot of that, and it happened in many different ways,” he said. “There were a lot of people that got radicalized around COVID misinformation and anti-vaccine sentiment, but then you also saw a lot of radicalization around other issues, whether it was white supremacist ideologies or other types of things online because we were so online during those few years.”

He said that from that grew the “parental rights” movement.

“It’s kind of their idea of how they should also control their children in other ways.”

He added, “This group, when you look at where they are most engaged and politically active, it’s pockets of the country where you see a lot of activity from them. These pockets are places like Pennsylvania, California, and, of course, Florida, where they were originally founded. There’s an intensity in certain pockets of the country of this kind of political activism, which is, I think, really interesting when you look at this group,.

Some members of Moms for Liberty have espoused the belief that teachers and trusted adults in children’s lives are conspiring together to secretly convince children to become trans.

One of the group’s chapters recently published a newsletter featuring an Adolf Hitler quote. First, the group tried to “add context” to the quote after it was sharply criticized. Then, the group deleted the selection before Moms for Liberty representatives said apologies should never be made nor concessions agreed to, no matter the nature of a misstep.

Additionally, South Florida lawyer Luis Fuste has been appointed to the commission by DeSantis. The state’s Senate must approve both.

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