A Trump-aligned PAC filed an ethics complaint against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, which the governor’s office dubbed “inappropriate.”
The MAGA Inc. complaint, sent to the Florida Commission on Ethics Wednesday, claimed that the governor violated ethics and election laws, citing a “shadow box campaign,” according to the filing obtained by NBC News. The 15-page filing requested the commission to look into the governor’s book tour, pro-DeSantis PACs and other activities that have helped his “ascension to the national stage” prior to a campaign launch.
DeSantis has engaged in a “lucrative book tour” where he has received “gifts” from political actors leading up to his campaign announcement, the filing alleges. Following the Feb. 28 launch of “The Courage To Be Free,” DeSantis visited several key early primary states like Iowa and Nebraska.
MAGA Inc. mentions the numerous political action committees that have been formed by DeSantis allies to fundraise for the governor, arguing DeSantis is using his elected position to “enrich himself and his political allies, and influence the national electorate.”
“Adding this to the list of frivolous and politically motivated attacks. It’s inappropriate to use state ethics complaints for partisan purposes,” DeSantis Communications Director Taryn Fenske said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“President Trump I knew would never have played these types of establishment games. I’m shocked, but not surprised,” said Ken Cuccinelli, former Trump official and founder of Never Back Down, a PAC intended to recruit DeSantis to run. “The overwhelming response we’ve received to building a DeSantis grassroots effort is exciting – and I’m sure intimidating. No wonder the folks on that campaign are nervous. They should be.”
The filing strongly suggests that DeSantis is violating several Florida campaign statutes, many involving finances. The complaint names a few PACs that are aimed at recruiting the governor into the presidential race – specifically Ready for Ron, Ron to the Rescue and Courageous Conservatives.
The Trump MAGA Inc super PAC filed a 15 page ethics complaint w/ FL Commission on Ethics vs. DeSantis for his "shadow presidential campaign" that they say violates FL’s Resign to Run law & accuses him of “unethical gifts, illegal campaign contributions.” https://t.co/3WJtUAf9By
— Fin Gómez (@finnygo) March 15, 2023
“No person is above the law, not even the Governor,” the filing reads.
DeSantis is “a de facto candidate for President of the United States under federal election laws,” the filing reads. The complaint also mentions Florida’s resign-to-run law which would prevent him from running for president unless he resigns as governor first.
DeSantis has also been involved with several donor events, including a weekend retreat he hosted that featured a number of conservative donors, legislators and leaders.
The complaint was filed to Glenton Gilzean, the commission’s chairman, and asked that it be reviewed “as soon as possible.”
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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