The office of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday hit back at a Trump-aligned political action committee for filing a complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics accused of DeSantis running a “shadow presidential campaign.”
Adding this to the list of frivolous and politically motivated attacks. It is inappropriate to use state ethics complaints for partisan purposes,” DeSantis communications director Taryn Fenske told DailyMail.com in a statement.
A 15-page complaint from MAGA, Inc. claims DeSantis has launched a “shadow presidential campaign” and is using it to amass “considerable personal wealth and political capital.”
Taylor Budowich, the head of MAGA, Inc., argued to Florida Commission chairman Glenton Gilzean Jr. and a DeSantis appointee that there is “strong evidence” that DeSantis engaged in “illegal conduct.”
DeSantis, the complaint argued, is taking steps related to getting a presidential campaign off the ground, such as hiring staffers and meeting with key people in early primary states, but doing so “at the expense of Florida taxpayers.”
The office of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday hit back at a Trump-aligned political action committee for filing a complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics accusing DeSantis of running a “shadow presidential campaign.” He is pictured with Casey and their three children
The Trump-aligned PAC MAGA, Inc. claims DeSantis has launched a “shadow presidential campaign” and is using it to amass “considerable personal wealth and political capital”
Budowich argued that DeSantis uses his book tour as a guise for a presidential campaign and receives “gifts” related to it, including hotel rooms, speaking venues and food.
“Should the Commission find that a violation has occurred, it would have to impose penalties, including removing Governor DeSantis from office and disqualifying him from future Florida state ballots,” according to a MAGA Inc. press release.
DeSantis named five of the nine members currently serving on Florida’s Ethics Commission, including Gilzean.
The move shows that those in Trumpworld are willing to play hardball against DeSantis, who Trump Monday said was “probably” the biggest threat to him earning the Republican nomination again in 2024.
“I would probably say so, but you never know what might happen, it could change,” Trump told a group of reporters aboard Trump Force One that was on his way to Davenport, Iowa.
“I don’t think we’re going to have much of a challenge,” Trump also said.
Trump used the Davenport event — his first of the 2024 race in the state holding the first presidential caucus — to go after DeSantis like never before.
He told the crowd — representing people from 77 of Iowa’s 99 counties — that DeSantis was bad on ethanol and wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare.
He also portrayed the Florida governor and former congressman as a “RINO” who would lose the race.
“You have to remember that Ron was a disciple of Paul Ryan,” Trump told the crowd, describing the former GOP House speaker as a “RINO loser currently destroying Fox.”
In Davenport, Iowa, former President Donald Trump went after DeSantis on Monday, linking him to ‘RINO’ losers and saying he is bad on ethanyl, Social Security and Medicare
“To be honest, Ron also reminds me a lot of Mitt Romney,” Trump added.
While Trump announced his 2024 bid in November, just days after the 2022 midterm races concluded, DeSantis has yet to reveal his intentions despite it being abundantly clear that he is testing the waters.
Before Trump traveled to Davenport on Monday, DeSantis visited the same Iowa city, along with the state capital, Des Moines, on Friday.
He intends headline an event in New Hampshire next month and visited Nevada over the weekend.
MAGA, Inc.’s Ethics Complaint bases her complaint on a Florida law that says politicians running for new offices must resign from their current positions if the two offices overlap.
A 2024 presidential race would be against the law, though top state Republican lawmakers have indicated they would change the law to allow DeSantis to mount a run.
It was changed in 2008 when it appeared that then-Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, could be selected to become Senator John McCain’s running mate. It was changed in 2018.
MAGA, Inc.’s complaint argues that because the law remains unchanged, any gifts or money accepted by DeSantis to induce him to run for president violates state law.