Campaign Legal Center claims DeSantis has already violated campaign laws

by | May 30, 2023

  • The Campaign Legal Center (CLC) accused Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign on Tuesday of violating campaign finance laws.
  • The CLC claims that DeSantis’ state PAC transferred over $80 million to his federal PAC, which intends to spend $200 million on his campaign.
  • In a complaint filed with the FEC, the group argues that the transfer of funds constitutes a breach of the ban on “soft money,” thus breaching established financial regulations.

The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan elections watchdog organization, claimed on Tuesday that the presidential campaign of Gov. Ron DeSantis has already breached campaign finance laws.

The organization asserts that DeSantis’ statewide Political Action Committee (PAC) used throughout his gubernatorial campaign, Friends of Ron DeSantis, transferred more than $80 million of money to his federal PAC Never Back Down, which reportedly plans to spend $200 million supporting DeSantis’ campaign.

Further, CLC states that the transfer of funds violates a ban on “soft money” – funds raised in circumstances where federal campaign finance laws don’t apply — due to the money that Friends of Ron DeSantis raised not being subject to federal contribution limits, source prohibitions, and reporting requirements.

Subsequently, the group filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), which states that DeSantis “became a candidate” before the formal commencement of his campaign, and thus not bound by the Federal Election Campaign Act (FEMA) provisions prohibiting candidates and the entities they establish, finance, maintain, or control from spending soft money in connection with federal elections.

“Soft money undermines federal campaign finance laws because it is, by definition, money raised and spent outside the scope of those laws,” wrote Brendan Quinn, who serves as CLC’s Senior Communications Manager for Campaign Finance and Ethics issues. “In order to give voters real power and prevent wealthy special interests from rigging the system in their favor, the FEC must act and hold those responsible accountable.”

An inquiry filed by The Capitolist with DeSantis’ federal campaign regarding the complaint was not immediately answered.

According to DeSantis’ campaign, the Florida governor raised a record $8.2 million in the first 24 hours after he announced his 2024 presidential campaign on Twitter.

Presently, DeSantis is engaged in an attempt to garner political momentum in states commencing the 2024 primary season, making campaign stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Per the governor’s political operations team, DeSantis will conduct “speeches, stops, and fireside chats” between May 30 and June 2.

Throughout the four-day trip, DeSantis is planning to visit five cities in Iowa, with the official campaign kickoff taking place in the capital, Des Moines, followed by visits to four cities in New Hampshire and concluding with three cities in South Carolina.

“We are laser-focused on taking Governor DeSantis’ forward-thinking message for restoring America to every potential voter in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina,” said campaign manager Generra Peck. “Our campaign is committed to putting in the time to win these early nominating states.  No one will work harder than Governor DeSantis to share his vision with the country — he has only begun to fight.”

This is a developing story. 


  1. Truth Seeker

    “Nonpartisan”? A study of this organization’s history strongly suggests otherwise.y

  2. Get Over It

    Wish Florida would stop being “independent” when it comes to creating its own campaign finance laws. When nothing matches up to the Feds accounting system, they have to know they are creating their own hazards.

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