Florida recently delivered two blows to the former president. The Florida Commission on Ethics denied a complaint by former President Trump’s associates accusing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of orchestrating a “shadow presidential campaign.” Meanwhile, Fl legislation will allow DeSantis to run for president and keep his office.
A political action committee, Make America Great Again Inc., which supports Trump, filed a 15-page lawsuit in March accusing DeSantis of “illegal conduct.” The CEO of MAGA Inc., Taylor Budowich, who used to be a spokesman for Trump, claimed that there was reason to investigate whether the governor had broken the law by raising funds through his Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC, conducting interviews in early primary states, while going on a lucrative personal “book tour,” and taking other actions towards running for president without officially announcing his candidacy.
The spokesperson for DeSantis, who is said to be considering running for president in May, dismissed the complaint as frivolous and politically motivated. They also stated that using state ethics complaints for partisan purposes is inappropriate.
The commission determined that Budowich and MAGA Inc. failed to present specific claims against DeSantis that would constitute a violation of Florida law on many occasions.
Budowich claimed that DeSantis solicited and accepted millions of dollars in benefits with the expectation that these contributions would influence his decision to quit as governor of Florida and run for president. The commission, however, stated that MAGA Inc. never alleged a specific “quid pro quo” that would violate the law.
The commission determined that the complaint did not provide enough factual and substantive evidence to show that DeSantis had solicited or accepted anything with the intention of influencing an official decision connected to his public office.
MAGA Inc. also claimed that DeSantis “likely” received unlawful advantages from his book, “The Courage to Be Free,” including a $2 million advance, book sales royalties, and speaking engagements linked to his book tour.
Regarding the book tour, the commission determined that there was no evidence to suggest that DeSantis received an unearned or unfair book advance compared to other public figures in similar situations.
The panel stated that Budowich did not provide any clear evidence of an “affirmative act or omission” by DeSantis that would qualify as an abuse of his position under the Florida Constitution and justify an inquiry.
The accusation that DeSantis used his position to benefit himself by taking 15 out-of-state campaign trips with his official security detail, costing Florida taxpayers over $2.4 million, was dismissed by the ethics panel. They found no evidence of corrupt intent on his part.
In another blow to Trump, Florida approves legislation that allows Ron DeSantis to run for president without quitting his position as governor.
The Florida Governor will likely declare his presidential candidacy when the state legislative session concludes. The Florida Senate gave final approval Friday to a law permitting state officials to run for president without quitting their present position.
The law passed the state House on party lines, 76-34, and now heads to the governor’s desk for final approval. Democrats in the state have attacked the legislation, part of a wider elections package, as an accommodation for Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is anticipated to run in the Republican primary in 2024.
Democratic Rep. Angela Nixon said Friday that DeSantis must resign to run for president. Being governor is a full-time job, and it takes a lot of work to run for president. she added.
Republicans have reacted angrily to this depiction, claiming that the move is only a clarification and is not intended to target any one candidate.
It is a unique and individual office. It is the country’s chief executive, Republican Rep. Ralph Massullo remarked on Friday. Massullo added that it wasn’t just for DeSantis; it was for anyone in politics. DeSantis is anticipated to sign the law.
President Biden started his re-election campaign earlier this week, ending rumors that his age might force him to relinquish the presidency after only one term. Biden, 80, is the oldest presidential candidate, followed by Trump, 76. Meanwhile, DeSantis is 44 years old.