Andrew Gillum, Democratic Socialist gubernatorial candidate defeated by Republican Ron Desantis in 2018, is apparently trying to shift votes in favor of the Democrats by registering more Dem. voters in Florida.
Last February, the anti-trump politician gave warning of the presence of “dark money” influencing his own race for governor. Now, the former Tallahassee mayor is using a private nonprofit to drive voter registration rather than his political committee.
Private nonprofits can get away with much less financial disclosure than political committees.
The Tampa Bay Times first reported on Gillum’s shady shift in financial tactics, saying:
“Gillum moved $500,000 from the political committee to the nonprofit last month, according to campaign finance reports filed Wednesday.
What Gillum does with that money will largely be shielded from public view. Unlike his political committee, which is required to itemize every expenditure and report it to the state each month, the nonprofit does not have to disclose its spending.
Nor will the nonprofit have to account for where it gets its money. The organization’s annual tax documents will be public, but those include far less information and it will be more than a year before they’re made available.”
The change came after the Tampa Bay Times reported in May that the FBI had subpoenaed records related to his 2018 gubernatorial campaign. This after Gillum’s time as Tallahassee mayor was tied to an FBI probe into city hall corruption, a federal investigation that involved undercover FBI agents going on trips with Gillum.
Joshua Karp, a spokesperson for Gillum, said the former mayor’s use of the nonprofit is because it “is allowed to directly spend money on voter registration efforts” in a manner that the political committee is not allowed to act.
“That fundraising is going very well, and we’re proceeding with vital investments in progressive infrastructure in this state,” Karp said.
Writing at the Tallahassee Democrat, Bill Cotterell, a columnist and former reporter for the newspaper, opined, “Taking political financing private may be legal, but looks wrong for Gillum.”
“Even if you implicitly trust your leader not to tap into the organization’s piggy bank, even if you know the boss to be honest and dedicated to the lofty goals you’ve set out to attain, wouldn’t you still find it unsettling to be asked not to see the records?
Especially if the leader of your high-minded group is separately being investigated for some unknown financial irregularities, with federal subpoenas for past campaign documents? Especially if he just reached a $5,000 settlement with the Commission on Ethics in an unrelated case involving some lavish vacation travel and unreported goodies given him by lobbyist pals seeking favors from his city while he was mayor?”
Gillum sent out a mass email to his followers on Sunday, asking them to donate money in order to “stop Trump.”
Gillum’s message to supporters said, “The only way we can make sure we stop Trump is by beating him here in Florida, and to do that we need to register and reengage a million voters to flip Florida blue. That’s our plan, and it will work no matter how much money they spend here, but only if I can count on your help.”
Gillum recently announced his own Florida voter registration initiative committed to registering no less than one million new voters for 2020 while aiming to “evict Donald Trump” from the White House.
“We are going to commit ourselves to registering and engaging one million voters between now and 2020’s presidential election,” Gillum said at a recent event in Miami, addressing his new group which calls itself Bring It Home Florida.
“The road to the White House runs through Florida,” added Gillum. “We can deny Donald Trump a second term right here in the state of Florida.”
“How many states can you say, by themselves, have the ability to deny this man a return to the White House?” Gillum asked. “I can’t think of a bigger, better, more important state than the state of Florida, than for us to send that message.”