Taxpayer-funded, state officials working for Governor Ron DeSantis have been soliciting presidential campaign donations from lobbyists who have business in front of the Governor’s office, according to the Republican lobbyists themselves.
“What the f— am I supposed to do?” one lobbyist told NBC, “I have a lot of business in front of the DeSantis administration.”
The shakedowns come at a time when the Governor still has to act on the state budget, and lobbyists are scrambling to obtain their provisions, carve-outs, and budgeted items.
Campaign fundraising is also typically a job for political staffers, not state employees. But at least four state employees have been sending lobbyists messages asking them to pitch in to DeSantis’s presidential fund “through a specific link that appeared to track who is giving”.
The solicitations raise legal questions, and will depend on such factors as “whether they were sent on state-owned phones, or if they were sent on state property.”
Ron DeSantis launched his presidential campaign this week after months of denial, and having been re-elected by Florida voters just 5 months prior. While out of state, he will be deputized by Lt. Gov Jeanette Nunez, who has referred to Donald Trump as a “KKK” supporter, and a “con-man”.
“The bottom line is that the administration appears to be keeping tabs on who is giving, and are doing it using state staff,” one local lobbyist explained.
“You are in a prisoner’s dilemma. They are going to remain in power. We all understand that,” they added, suggesting there are fears of repercussions against lobbyists who do not contribute.
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