A top DeSantis fundraising consultant has flatly denied allegations made in the New York Times that she was actively working to sandbag the fundraising efforts ahead of the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville next month. A flurry of stories Thursday evening alleged that DeSantis and his top fundraising consultant, Heather Barker, were actively undermining convention fundraising efforts because of a supposed dispute between DeSantis and his former campaign manager, Susie Wiles, whom the Trump campaign rehired this month.
Wiles departed DeSantis’s orbit last fall after allegedly falling out of favor with the governor over a leaked memo outlining a proposed campaign finance plan put together ahead of DeSantis’s reelection effort for 2022.
From the Times story:
Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, has directed his top fund-raiser, Heather Barker, to tell donors not to give to the convention because of a personal dispute between the governor and Susie Wiles, his former campaign manager who is serving as an informal adviser to the convention planners, according to multiple people familiar with his actions.
Ms. Barker, the top DeSantis fund-raiser, has been explicit with donors in Florida that the governor will not be helpful with rounding up money for the convention because of the involvement of Ms. Wiles, according to the people familiar with the conversations. In a phone call with Mr. Trump about whether to involve Ms. Wiles in the convention planning, Mr. DeSantis also told the president that she was overrated as an operative and that she had little to do with Mr. Trump’s 2016 victory in the state, a person familiar with the discussion said. Mr. Trump did not respond, and changed the subject.
Barker flatly denied the allegations in the Times’ story.
“We are encouraging all people to participate, and we hope it’s a success for the president,” Barker said. “We just hope everything is a success and want it to be, however they want to structure things and put things together.”
The convention’s major donors come from all over the country, so it’s not clear how much of an impact Barker could have even if the allegations were true.