Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis is facing another legal challenge… this time from a super PAC associated with Donald Trump, who remains publicly at odds (to put it lightly) with the former ally over the possibility of the Republican chief executive launching a bid for the presidency.
DeSantis doing so would mean he’d challenge Trump himself, who confirmed his expected campaign for the GOP presidential nomination for the 2024 election and, for now, is the party’s probable frontrunner. There is polling, though, that shows DeSantis coming close to beating Trump or outright defeating him in individual states or nationally, and Ron keeps raising money.
NBC revealed that the Trump political organization, which specifically was Make America Great Again Inc., was accusing DeSantis in a complaint with a state ethics commission of accepting illegal donations in furtherance of what effectively is a covert campaign for president or at least could soon become such a bid. As explained by NBC, the Trump group tied its outrage to legal restrictions in Florida against officials receiving such gifts in furtherance of advocacy for a particular outcome to an official decision, and with legal requirements in Florida currently requiring DeSantis to resign if he runs for president, that decision would be his prospective departure from office.
The Trump entity behind the complaint asked for an investigation into whether a series of actions in potential support of DeSantis’s presidential ambitions “are unlawful because they serve his personal political objectives, are in furtherance of his personal financial gain at the expense of Florida taxpayers, and are intended to influence his official decision to resign from office.” Besides outside interests campaigning for DeSantis to run for president, also spotlighted were recent donations to the governor’s political operation despite limits on how many terms he can serve as governor and trips he’s recently taken. He even recently went to Iowa, obviously infamous for its traditionally early role in the respective major parties picking presidential nominees.
Consequences for the governor should he be found liable for misconduct could include impeachment, but it’s obviously far from certain he’d face such a thing… especially considering he appointed most of the ethics board’s members. The Trump super PAC, though, also accused DeSantis of soliciting the disputed support.
A spokesperson for the governor sounded largely unconcerned about the Trump team’s move. “Adding this to the list of frivolous and politically motivated attacks — it’s inappropriate to use state ethics for partisan purposes,” spokesperson Taryn Fenske said. If DeSantis actually gets close to the presidency, he could be dangerous. In Florida, his policy record has included restrictions on discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms, limits on teaching concepts like white privilege, what could be increasingly strict limits on abortion, an unfolding expansion of concealed carry in Florida allowing residents to covertly tote weapons without permits, and the list goes on.