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DeSantis is now a millionaire. Unfortunately, he still has student loans to pay off.

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Ron DeSantisGov. Ron DeSantis of Florida holds a copy of his new book as he speaks to a crowd at the Adventure Outdoors gun store in Smyrna, Ga., on March 30, 2023.

AP Photo/John Bazemore

  • DeSantis made over $1 million for his book advance when he wrote “The Courage to Be Free.”
  • It’s a large sum for someone who previously was worth only about $319,000.
  • DeSantis still has student loans, though they’ve gone down about $2,000.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis almost quadrupled his net worth in a year, thanks to a seven-figure payday from his bestselling memoir, “The Courage to be Free.” 

The 2024 candidate’s net worth as of December 31, 2022, was $1,174,331, according to documents he filed to the Florida Commission on Ethics ahead of a July 1 deadline. A year earlier, DeSantis’ net worth was nearly $319,000

The lift in salary was largely thanks to a $1.25 million book advance DeSantis got from Broadside Books, the conservative arm of HarperCollins Publishing that is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Since filing his last financial disclosure, DeSantis lowered the amount he owes on his student loans slightly, from $21,284.92 to $18,628.66. The governor’s financial disclosure became public on Friday evening, the same day that the Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program. 

Just like the financial disclosure from 2022, DeSantis still doesn’t own property and does not trade stocks. He wrote in his memoir that he stopped doing so before going to Congress because he wanted to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest.

Though DeSantis, 44, is technically a millionaire, he isn’t as wealthy as former President Donald Trump, his top rival in the 2024 Republican nomination contest.

Trump, 77, was likely the wealthiest man ever to live in the White House after overseeing a vast real estate empire that included golf courses, condos, and opulent private clubs under the umbrella of the privately owned Trump Organization.

Forbes estimates Trump’s net worth at $2.5 billion, though Trump himself has pegged the figure at $10 billion. It’s a huge matter of debate given that Trump famously refused to publish his tax returns that would reveal his annual income (though some of the documents leaked to the New York Times). 

DeSantis, in contrast, was raised by working-class parents in Florida and attended Ivy League schools before joining the Navy and then becoming a US congressman. As governor, he makes $141,400 a year — a pay cut from the $174,000 a year he made when he was a member of the US House representing Florida’s 6th District from 2013 to 2018. 

DeSantis and his family live in the governor’s mansion and hold no property after selling their Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, home in March 2019 for $460,000, according to The Associated Press. The DeSantises placed the earnings from the house into a USAA account. DeSantis put most of his book advance in that account, the disclosures from Friday show. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during an event spotlighting his newly released book, “The Courage To Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint For America’s Revival” at the Orange County Choppers Road House & Museum on March 08, 2023 in Pinellas Park, Florida.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during an event spotlighting his newly released book, “The Courage To Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint For America’s Revival” at the Orange County Choppers Road House & Museum on March 08, 2023 in Pinellas Park, Florida.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

More records are coming

Records DeSantis will file with the Federal Elections Commission in the coming days will show an even more current net worth and any earnings for his wife, Florida first lady Casey DeSantis. Those documents are required for presidential contestants, whereas the ones filed Friday are required in his capacity as governor. 

Federal ethics guidance requires that presidential candidates disclosure assets that encompass the full prior year, up to the time the candidate filed to run for office. Candidates can provide broad ranges, rather than specific figures, for how much they received in book royalties. 

Financial records from other presidential prospects indicate book advances to politicians can be significant and greatly increase their net worth. Hillary Clinton received an $8 million advance for her memoir “Living History,” about her time as First Lady. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence received a $1.4 million advance for his book that detailed his dramatic escape on January 6, 2021, when he stood up to Trump over the election certification. 

GOP Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, another 2024 presidential candidate, earned a $184,167 advance for his book. When Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, she received a $730,350 advance for her book.

Other than promises of a big payday, writing a book can help politicians tell voters about who they are as people and why they decided to run for public office.

DeSantis’ book took readers through his upbringing in Dunedin, Florida, to his time in the governor’s mansion — and the COVID policies that made him famous — but also left out details about how long he’d wanted to run for president and some of the people he’d been close to throughout his life. 

An Insider analysis of financial disclosures found that members of Congress together raked in $1.8 million in 2020 from book advances and royalties. The total was uncovered as part of the exhaustive Conflicted Congress project, in which Insider reviewed nearly 9,000 financial-disclosure reports for every sitting lawmaker and their top-ranking staffers.

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