The Make America Great Again Inc. super PAC has accused Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis of "illegal conduct" in a "shadow presidential campaign," Breitbart reported. The pro-Trump group filed an ethics complaint on Tuesday.
In its letter to the Florida Commission on Ethics, the super PAC accused DeSantis of using the proceeds from his best-selling book and campaign contributions to conduct his unofficial presidential bid. "Certain activities related to Governor DeSantis’s ascension to the national stage...are in furtherance of his personal financial gain at the expense of Florida taxpayers, and are intended to influence his official decision to resign from office," the letter stated.
It went on to claim that DeSantis was "already a de facto candidate for President of the United States under federal election laws" because of his ability to raise money. Moreover, it said his "failure to declare his candidacy is no mere oversight; it is a coordinated effort specifically designed for him to accept, as unethical gifts, illegal campaign contributions and certain personal benefits that are necessarily intended to influence."
The MAGA super PAC said DeSantis met with "influential figures" and was "vetting operatives in early primary states." Some of these people have helped him form a 501(c)(4) group allegedly to "support his presidential candidacy by sponsoring his events in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago."
The cities named were part of a pro-law enforcement tour the governor recently made. The letter also said DeSantis "met with individuals who are likely to play key roles in his presidential campaign" and that "inappropriate expenditures aimed at a national audience" from Friends of Ron DeSantis were prohibited under campaign finance law.
This action comes as DeSantis is seen as a direct competitor to former President Donald Trump and has been in the spotlight to promote his new book and tout his achievements. However, the Republican governor has not formally announced his intentions to run for higher office.
Still, it's clear that Make America Great Again Inc. is bent on silencing DeSantis or at least sullying his reputation. A news release from the organization said the governor should be thrown out of office and barred from "any future ballot in the State of Florida" if found guilty of these violations.
"The Make America Great Again movement was birthed to stop career politicians who use public service to amass personal wealth and power," the news release said. "An investigation by the Florida Ethics Commission must occur as soon as possible."
"This letter provides ample evidence that Governor DeSantis is engaging in conduct that violates Florida Ethics laws," the organization explained. However, one of Trump's former allies, Ken Cuccinelli, supported DeSantis and a presidential bid.
Cuccinelli, who was formerly one of his senior advisers, said Trump was engaging in "establishment games" with his attacks on DeSantis. "The President Trump I knew would never have played these types of establishment games," he said.
"I’m shocked, but not surprised. During my tenure as Attorney General of Virginia, I saw complaints all the time and I can tell when spaghetti is just thrown at the wall," Cuccinelli quipped.
"The overwhelming response we’ve received to building a DeSantis grassroots effort is exciting — and I’m sure intimidating. No wonder the folks on that campaign are nervous," Cuccinelli continued.
"They should be. The MAGA movement is excited to look to its next chapter and future conservative leadership. They are excited at the potential of a President Ron DeSantis," he added. Cuccinelli took a shot at the former president, claiming he was motivated by the fact that DeSantis "outsold Trump’s book."
It's absurd to claim that what DeSantis is doing is anything but the business of politics. It seems likely he will run in 2024 with so much momentum behind him already, and this letter is proof that the Trump camp is already gearing up for the showdown.