DeSantis Staffers Raise Ethics Questions With Lobbyist Solicitations

Government staffers asked lobbyists to donate to DeSantis' campaign, according to an NBC report.

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Members of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration have raised ethical questions by engaging in fundraising for his presidential campaign, according to a new report from NBC.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during an Iowa GOP reception on May 13, 2023 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - MAY 13: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during an Iowa GOP reception on May 13, 2023 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Although he has not yet announced his candidacy, Gov. DeSantis has received the endorsement of 37 Iowa lawmakers for the Republican presidential nomination next year. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

NBC News reviewed text messages from individuals working in the governor’s office and leadership positions in Florida agencies, in which DeSantis administration members solicited donations from lobbyists.

"I’m not sure what every EOG staffer does on their free time and after hours, with their first amendment rights, but I wouldn’t be shocked if team eog somehow raised more money than lobbyists," one DeSantis administration member told NBC via text.

“At a minimum, even if they are sitting in their home at 9 p.m. using their personal phone and contacting lobbyists that they somehow magically met in their personal capacity and not through their role in the governor’s office, it still smells yucky,” a Florida election law attorney said in an interview with NBC. “There’s a misuse of public position issue here that is obvious to anyone paying attention.”

If the staffers used official state laptops or phones to send the messages or sent them during work hours or on state property, the behavior likely breaches Florida election law, according to NBC.

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