Trump Super PAC Files Ethics Complaint Against DeSantis, Alleging 'Illegal Conduct'


A super PAC aligned with former President Trump has filed an ethics complaint in Florida that accuses Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of running a “shadow presidential campaign.”

The document is a major escalation in what appears to be a budding feud between the former president and DeSantis, who has been floated as a 2024 contender since before he was re-elected in November.

The super PAC Make America Great Again Inc. filed a 15-page ethics complaint Wednesday that compared the governor’s ongoing book tour and other public appearances to campaigning.

It also names numerous PACs and other groups that are aligned with DeSantis.

The complaint, which was first reported by NBC News, claims the governor is already running for president but has made the “illegal” choice not to publicly declare it.

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The document further argues DeSantis’ ambitions beyond the governor’s office are harming the people of Florida, who gave him a landslide victory over Democrat Charlie Crist four months ago.

“Governor DeSantis has solicited and received millions of dollars’ worth of gifts,” the complaint says.

Citing state election laws on contributions and expenditures, Make America Great Again Inc. argues DeSantis has received gifts that “constitute illegal lobbying” of which there is “ample evidence.”

“Governor DeSantis triggered the requirement to file a Statement of Candidacy with the FEC,” the document says.

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His fundraising and public appearances are equated by the filing to “illegal conduct.”

The popular conservative governor is accused of operating a “shadow presidential campaign” that makes him a “de facto candidate for President of the United States.”

“It is no secret that Governor DeSantis aspires to national prominence,” the document says. “Governor DeSantis’s 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 his official decision to resign from office under Florida’s resign to run law.”

The complaint claims DeSantis’ “ham-handed maneuverings have rendered him irreparably conflicted and have left the statehouse vacant.”

The document is signed by the chairman of MAGA Inc., Taylor Budowich.

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According to WFLA-TV in Tampa, Florida, a DeSantis spokesman responded to the complaint by saying he would be “[a]dding this to the list of frivolous and politically motivated attacks.”

“It’s inappropriate to use state ethics complaints for partisan purposes,” the spokesman said.

Budowich shared reporting of the complaint on Twitter on Wednesday morning.

“The Make America Great Again movement was birthed to stop career politicians who use public service to amass personal wealth and power,” he said.

“An investigation by the Florida Ethics Commission must occur as soon as possible.”

Budowich is a former spokesman for Trump.

The former president has taken on DeSantis while on the campaign trail and online.

The governor has mostly remained quiet as Trump has mocked him with the nicknames “Ron DeSanctimonious” and “Meatball Ron,” the latter of which he said he decided against using.

DeSantis is keeping his cards close to his chest regarding whether he will enter the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

Recent polling has shown the former president with a large early lead among declared and potential Republican candidates.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.