Nikki Fried, the chair of the Democratic Party, filed a complaint late last week with the Florida Commission on Ethics that alleges that the committee’s spending violates a Florida law that bars spending money on activities that are unrelated to the political work of the committee. The committee was initially set up to aid DeSantis in his race for governor.
“This is yet another example of Ron DeSantis arrogantly thinking he is above the law. No one is above the law,” Fried said. “While Floridians face some of the highest property insurance and mortgage rates in the state’s history, DeSantis is hobnobbing with special interest donors and lining his pockets with freebies.”
Taryn Fenske, a spokesperson for DeSantis, quickly dismissed the complaint, which is similar to one filed earlier this month by a super PAC that supports former President Donald Trump.
“Just like the one from two weeks ago, we’ll just add this to the list of frivolous & politically motivated attacks,” Fenske said on Twitter. “Louder for the Dems in the back: It’s inappropriate to use ethics complaints for partisan purposes.”
Evan Power, the vice chair of the Republican Party of Florida who had filed an ethics complaint against Fried when she was still agriculture commissioner, lashed out as well.
“Nikki Fried filing an ethics complaint is like asking Freddy [Krueger] to set up a first aid tent,” Power said in a statement. The ethics commission this month agreed to drop the case against Fried.
The brief complaint filed by the Democratic Party is much more focused than the one outlined by the head of Make America Great Again, the super PAC backing Trump. It contends that other improper spending by the committee also includes $142,000 spent on an event at a Miami hotel, along with nearly $12,000 spent at a Miami steak restaurant as well as money spent on DeSantis merchandise like promotional tumblers and t-shirts.
In Florida, political committees can accept unlimited donations from any donor. And in the past, the state panels that regulate ethics and campaign finance have given wide latitude on the type of spending allowed by these committees.
DeSantis is expected to formally launch a run for president later this year, and he has been holding events to promote his new memoir — and his “Florida blueprint” — in events both in Florida and select states including Iowa and Nevada.
The ethics complaints filed against DeSantis and his political committee may not be resolved quickly. The process can take months for the ethics commission to determine whether there is a legal basis for the complaint and to investigate it.
Read the full article here