Partners and cronies of former President Donald Trump have filed an ethics complaint against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The complaint filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics accuses DeSantis of breaking campaign finance and ethics rules.
The 15-page ethics complaint filed by MAGA Inc., asks the commission to examine Florida’s Republican leader for purportedly “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.”
Ethics complaint Against DeSantis
It says DeSantis is “already a de facto candidate for President of the United States,” citing the governor’s meetings with donors, outreach by allies to potential staff and his courting of influential Republicans in early-voting states, among other efforts.
The complaint asks the nine-member commission — five of whose members were appointed by DeSantis — to punish the governor by having him suspended from office, publicly censured or fined.
DeSantis communications director Taryn Fenske dismissed the accusations and questioned the motives of the ethics complaint. “Adding this to the list of frivolous and politically motivated attacks. It’s inappropriate to use state ethics complaints for partisan purposes,” she said in a statement.
Ken Cuccinelli, the former Trump Homeland Security official who recently launched a political action committee supporting DeSantis’ potential run, accused Trump allies of playing “establishment games.”
DeSantis Presidential Campaign
While DeSantis has not yet formally announced a 2024 campaign, he is widely expected to do so after Florida’s legislative session ends in May. In the meantime, he has traveled to early-voting states to promote his new book and has met with donors. His team has also held informal conversations with prospective campaign staff.
Ethics Commission spokesperson Lynn Blaise said the agency is not allowed to acknowledge any complaints received until a complaint reaches a point where it can be made public.
In addition to the five commission members appointed by DeSantis, the remaining four were appointed by the Senate president and House speaker — both allies of the governor.