DeSantis state PAC shuffles $82.5 million to national campaign amid FEC complaint

by | Jun 12, 2023



  • Empower Parents Political Action Committee (PAC), formerly known as Friends of Ron DeSantis, has transferred $82.5 million to Never Back Down, a pro-DeSantis PAC supporting his presidential campaign, as confirmed by financial documents. 
  • En route to a nearly 20-point margin of victory over state Democrat challenger Charlie Crist, the group raised more than $225 million for DeSantis, out of which $82.5 million was transferred to his national campaign. 
  • Amid speculation that DeSantis’ campaign would attempt to transfer the funds between PACs, The Campaign Legal Center (CLC), a nonpartisan elections watchdog organization, contended that the then-unconfirmed transfer of funds between PACs violates a ban on funds raised in circumstances where federal campaign finance laws don’t apply. 
  • The group subsequently 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 provisions.

Financial documents confirm that Empower Parents Political Action Committee (PAC), which previously operated as Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ gubernatorial PAC Friends of Ron DeSantis, has transferred $82.5 million to Never Back Down, a pro-DeSantis PAC working in conjunction with the governor’s presidential campaign.

DeSantis, widely considered to be the main Republican rival to former President Donald Trump, easily clinched reelection in 2022 with the help of a well-funded state political committee. En route to a nearly 20-point margin of victory over state Democrat challenger Charlie Crist, the group raised more than $225 million for DeSantis, out of which $82.5 million was transferred to his national campaign.

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.

The move does not come without controversy, however. The Campaign Legal Center (CLC), a nonpartisan elections watchdog organization, claimed last month that DeSantis’ campaign has already breached finance laws.

CLC contended that the then-unconfirmed transfer of funds between PACs 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.

The group subsequently 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 answered.

1 Comment

  1. Chris B.

    If it’s desantis doing it, I know it’s evil. He is of the devil, and I cannot support him. He even used trump to get ahead, and now he’s biting the hand that fed him.

 

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