The Make America Great Again Inc. PAC filed the lawsuit in March, charging that DeSantis engaged in “illegal conduct” by using his Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC to gather money in the first few months of 2023 even though he had not yet announced a White House run. In a 12-page report issued last week, the Florida commission refuted such claims, concluding that MAGA Inc. had failed to name particular claims that were illegal.
According to the ethics board’s findings, according to the document Fox News acquired, “the complaint fails to demonstrate in a factual, substantive, nonconclusory manner that [DeSantis] solicited or accepted anything with the understanding that it would influence an official decision associated with his public office.” “The complaint alleges specific actions allegedly taken by other organizations in support of [DeSantis’] anticipated presidential campaign, but never once expressly alleges that [DeSantis] and these organizations have an agreement or understanding, or that [DeSantis] has conditionally taken any public action on any donation, contribution, gift, or other thing of value,” reads the complaint.
By using his “personally lucrative book tour” to woo voters, the organization charged DeSantis with potentially breaking state law and said that the governor was most certainly using the occasion to solicit or receive gifts. The ethics panel disproved that assertion, labelling the claims as just hypothetical.
Additionally, the commission determined that the book’s royalties were equivalent to “what other similarly-positioned public figures could obtain for the same or similar work.”
Additionally, MAGA Inc. cited DeSantis’ book tour as a potential ethical transgression because it keeps him “absent for Florida.” There is no intrinsic reason why [DeSantis], as Governor, cannot go beyond the State, the panel said in dismissing those objections.
According to the report, “the complaint does not provide additional information to establish that such travel creates a continuing or frequently recurring conflict between his private interests and the discharge of his public duties.”
DeSantis, who has not yet declared if he plans to run for president but is seen to be Trump’s main competitor, has come under increasing pressure from former President Donald Trump’s friends as a result of the ethics complaint. Trump and DeSantis were formerly pals, but as they both seek the GOP candidacy in 2024, they have subsequently grown apart. The former president has intensified his criticism of the Florida governor in recent weeks.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal survey, the former president has a significant advantage against DeSantis, with more than half (51%) of Republican voters’ support compared to only 38% for DeSantis. But when it comes to campaign funding, DeSantis is head and shoulders above any potential competitors for the GOP nomination.
In the meanwhile, Trump has benefitted from some well-known endorsements. Compared to only three for DeSantis, more than 50 Republican House members have backed Trump for the GOP nominee. Ten Republican House members from DeSantis’s home state of Florida are among those who have endorsed Trump over the governor of the state.
DeSantis, a Republican governor of Florida, increased his attempts to gain national recognition before choosing whether to run for president this month by scheduling talks with a number of members of Congress in Washington. That strategy, though, appeared to go awry in a few instances after a number of GOP leaders abruptly endorsed Trump just hours after meeting with DeSantis.