Posted by on May 26, 2023 10:19 am
Categories: News Washington Examiner

DeSantis administration officials solicited campaign donations from lobbyists: Report

FILE – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a fundraising picnic for Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, May 13, 2023, in Sioux Center, Iowa. DeSantis will announce his 2024 presidential campaign in a Twitter Spaces event with Elon Musk on Wednesday, May 24. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File) Charlie Neibergall/AP

DeSantis administration officials solicited campaign donations from lobbyists: Report

Cami Mondeaux May 26, 08:50 AMMay 26, 08:50 AM Video Embed

Members of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R-FL) administration reportedly sought to solicit political donations from lobbyists for his presidential bid, raising questions about whether such a move violates ethics laws just two days into his campaign.

The administration officials sent text messages to several lobbyists, sharing a link to DeSantis’s campaign that appears to keep track of who donates to the campaign, according to text messages reviewed by NBC News. The solicitations have raised questions of whether such a move is legal, as political aides are usually barred from conducting campaign business as a way to keep agendas separate.


“The bottom line is that the administration appears to be keeping tabs on who is giving, and are doing it using state staff,” one lobbyist said. “You are in a prisoner’s dilemma. They are going to remain in power. We all understand that.”

The legality of the messages could depend on a slew of factors, including whether the texts were sent on personal or state-owned devices or even if the solicitations were sent on government property. Even if the messages were sent on personal time and on individually owned phones, it could raise ethical questions.

Several lobbyists who received the messages expressed concern with the strategy, noting they currently have business in front of the governor — raising concerns about whether they’d be retaliated against for not donating to his campaign.


“What the f*** am I supposed to do?” another lobbyist said. “I have a lot of business in front of the DeSantis administration.”

The news comes two days after DeSantis announced his highly anticipated presidential campaign on Wednesday in a virtual livestream on Twitter that was plagued with glitches and technical difficulties. Still, the Florida governor raised more than $8 million in the first 24 hours of his campaign, signaling some campaign strength as he prepares to face off against former President Donald Trump, who has emerged as an early front-runner in the race.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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