Complaint That DeSantis Committed 'Illegal Conduct' Dismissed by FL Commission, Trump PAC Responds

AP Photo/John Bazemore

The head of a super PAC supporting former President Donald Trump recently filed a complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics with allegations of “illegal conduct” against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), but the Commission just slapped it down completely in a new report.

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The complaint, filed on behalf of Make America Great Again Inc (MAGA Inc.) by Taylor Budowich, alleged that Gov. DeSantis was attempting to run a “shadow presidential campaign,” according to Fox News Digital:

Make America Great Again Inc., a pro-Trump PAC, had accused DeSantis of “illegal conduct” in a 15-page complaint filed in March. Taylor Budowich, a former Trump spokesman and now-head of MAGA Inc., had alleged that there was probable cause to investigate whether the governor had broken the law by fundraising through his Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC, having his team interview political operatives in early primary states, going on a “personally lucrative book tour” and taking other steps toward running for president while not officially declaring his candidacy for higher office.

Which actions by Ron DeSantis did MAGA Inc. take issue with? There were several allegations:

  • For example, Budowich alleged that DeSantis had “solicited and accepted millions of dollars in benefits” with an understanding that these donations would influence his decision to resign as governor of Florida to run for president. But the commission said that MAGA Inc. never alleged that there had been a specific “quid pro quo” that would violate the law. […]
  • MAGA Inc. had also made several allegations that DeSantis had “likely” reaped illegal benefits from his book, “The Courage to Be Free,” including a $2 million advance, royalties from book sales and speaking engagements related to his book tour. […]
  • The ethics board brushed off an allegation that DeSantis had misused his position “with corrupt intent to benefit himself” by making “approximately 15 out-of-state campaign trips accompanied by his official security detail, at a reported cost of over $2.4 million to Florida taxpayers.” […]
  • Finally, the commission rejected allegations that DeSantis’ contractural relationships for his book tour are “conflicting” because they cause him to be “absent for Florida,” citing a lack of “adequate factual basis for this allegation.”
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Now, the commission has dismissed everything Budowich alleged in the complaint against DeSantis:

In a 12-page report obtained by Fox News Digital, the Florida Commission on Ethics dismissed Budowich’s filing “for failure to constitute a legally sufficient complaint.”

The commission found that Budowich and MAGA Inc. had repeatedly failed to make specific allegations against DeSantis that would constitute a violation of Florida law.

In other words, they couldn’t show how he broke the law, or give any actual examples of illegal activity by the Sunshine state chief executive. In fact, it seems MAGA, Inc. tried to make connections between DeSantis and “alleged actions taken by other organizations for the benefit of [DeSantis’] anticipated presidential campaign, but never once expressly alleges that [DeSantis] and these organizations have an agreement or understanding,” the ethics board wrote:

“The compliant fails to indicate in a factual, substantive, nonconclusory manner that [DeSantis] solicited or accepted anything with an understanding that it would influence an official decision associated with his public office,” the ethics board said. “The complaint details alleged actions taken by other organizations for the benefit of [DeSantis’] anticipated presidential campaign, but never once expressly alleges that [DeSantis] and these organizations have an agreement or understanding, or that [DeSantis] has conditioned any public action on any donation, contribution, gift, or other thing of value.”

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In reaction to Fox News Digital, Budowich said about the board’s decision:

It is hardly surprising that another weaponized state entity controlled by DeSantis ignores the facts and the law to protect the Governor.

There is abundant evidence DeSantis is running an illegal shadow campaign for president and profiting from it at the expense of Florida taxpayers.

The governor hasn’t even jumped in the primary yet, and this is what we’re seeing, folks. We’ll keep you posted on further developments, of course.

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