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Shots Fired: DeSantis Hit With an Ethics Complaint From Trump Super PAC

© AP Photo / Phelan M. EbenhackFILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses attendees during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit, Friday, July 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses attendees during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit, Friday, July 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.03.2023
The 15-page complaint accuses DeSantis of violating ethics and election laws by running a “shadow presidential campaign” through which the Florida governor has been allegedly recruiting staffers, raising or soliciting dollar donations, as well as orchestrating a “personally lucrative book tour.”
Former President Donald Trump, who is running for a non-consecutive presidential term this 2024 election, hit out against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday as an ethics complaint was filed against the state lawmaker.
DeSantis has not announced he will run as a GOP candidate for the 2024 presidential cycle; however, speculation in the media has been rampant and since become a target for the Trump camp.
A Trump-aligned super PAC MAGA Inc. has accused DeSantis of violating Florida laws by pursuing a “shadow presidential campaign” despite Trump having teased running for 2024, months before he announced his own campaign.

“Like all Florida officials, Governor DeSantis is an ‘agent of the people’ who must ‘hold [his] position for the benefit of the people.’ Unlike other Florida officials, Governor DeSantis is leveraging his elected office and breaching his associated duties in a coordinated effort to develop his national profile, enrich himself and his political allies, and influence the national electorate,” the complaint begins.

The commission is requesting a probe into whether DeSantis-aligned super PACS (such as “Run, Ron, Run!” which was organized by former Trump aide Ken Cuccinelli), his book tour, and state-level campaign contributions 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.”
“It is no secret that Governor DeSantis aspires to national prominence. In fact, and as detailed herein, Governor DeSantis is already a de facto candidate for president of the United States under federal election laws.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis answers questions from the media in the Florida Cabinet following his State of the State address during a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.03.2023
Florida Governor DeSantis’ Memoir Outsells Those of Trump, Obama in First Week - Reports
MAGA Inc. alleges that a governor should resign from office under a state law that prohibits people from holding an elected position while seeking another.
“Should the Commission find that a violation occurred, it should impose penalties that include removing Governor DeSantis from office and disqualifying him from any future ballot in the State of Florida,” MAGA Inc. wrote in the letter.

The commission is not likely to move forward with an investigation, but if they do DeSantis could technically face penalties such as fines, public censure, ballot disqualification or removal from office.

The DeSantis camp has since fired back at Trump and company.
"Adding this to the list of frivolous and politically motivated attacks — it's inappropriate to use state ethics for partisan purposes," said Taryn Fenske, DeSantis' communications director. DeSantis’ allies have also claimed that his attention is on governing Florida when pressed on whether he’ll announce a bid.
Insiders say the attack by Trump’s team is clearly an indication the former president is fearful of his former protege’s growing popularity, despite the governor not having yet declared a presidential run.
However, a new poll released on Wednesday shows Trump with a lead over DeSantis in a scenario where the two Republicans duke it out for a 2024 Republican presidential primary slot. Trump received a 46% support rate while DeSantis leveraged with a 32% rate in the hypothetical race.
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