DeSantis PACs draw campaign finance criticism

DeSantis PACs draw campaign finance criticism
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 6:46 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2023 at 7:46 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV/Gray Florida Capital Bureau) - More than $55 million has been given to presidential campaigns for the 2024 election.

That’s not including the thousands of people who donated to Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign. The governor was in South Carolina Friday to gain support after announcing his White House bid last week.

DeSantis’ campaign said it raised $8.2 million in the first 24 hours of the campaign. It told supporters in a text more than 44,000 people donated money in the first week of the campaign.

A state political committee supporting DeSantis also accumulated more than $80 million since he became governor.

“Governor DeSantis has a huge war chess to organize and make end roads into this general election,” said Lonna Atkeson, LeRoy Collins Institute at Florida State University director.

That state committee intends to transfer money to Never Back Down, a super PAC supporting DeSantis’ White House bid.

New state campaign guidelines published by the Florida Secretary of State’s office in March will allow it. Dating back to at least 2016, state committees couldn’t use the money for out-state-entities.

The Florida rule change will be tested by the Federal Election Commission. Watchdog group “Campaign Legal Center” filed a complaint with the FEC, alleging that transfer isn’t allowed.

That money can’t go to presidential campaigns, but Atkeson said the law gets murkier when dealing with super PACS.

“All these rules are very complicated but it is very expensive to run for president,” Atkeson said.

According to FEC data, it doesn’t appear Never Back Down has received the transfer yet.

The FEC hasn’t stopped similar transfers in the past.

Our Florida Capitol Bureau asked the Secretary of State’s Office why the rules were changed. It has not yet responded by the time this article was published.

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