The Pro-Trump super PAC Make America Great Again, Inc. filed an ethics complaint against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) Tuesday for running a "shadow presidential campaign," which it said is "illegal conduct."
A letter to the Florida Ethics Commission claimed that DeSantis used super PACs, state-level contributions and his recent book tour to run a shadow campaign without actually declaring his candidacy for president.
The letter read,
Certain activities related to Governor DeSantis’s ascension to the national stage, insofar as they are funded by a vast network of political committees, non-profit organizations, and prominent political operatives, are unlawful because they serve his personal political objectives, are in furtherance of his personal financial gain at the expense of Florida taxpayers, and are intended to influence his official decision to resign from office.
It is “no secret that Governor DeSantis aspires to national prominence,” the letter added.
DeSantis is “already a de facto candidate for President of the United States under federal election laws," the complaint alleges.
“Governor DeSantis’s failure to declare his candidacy is no mere oversight; it is a coordinated effort specifically designed for him to accept, as unethical gifts, illegal campaign contributions and certain personal benefits that are necessarily intended to influence,” the super PAC argued.
A major source of complaint is DeSantis's many meetings with powerful people around the country. The letter also mentioned groups organized on behalf of DeSantis that it claims are violating campaign finance laws.
The PAC argued that DeSantis should be thrown out of office and barred from holding further public office if the allegations are provent to be true.
DeSantis dismissed the accusations as a "frivolous" and "politically motivated" attack.
“Adding this to the list of frivolous and politically motivated attacks,” DeSantis communications director Taryn Fenske said.
Former Trump Homeland Security official Ken Cuccinelli, who launched a super PAC in support of DeSantis for president, said he wasn't surprised by the Trump PAC's actions.
“I’m shocked, but not surprised,” he said in a statement. “During my tenure as Attorney General of Virginia, I saw complaints all the time and I can tell when spaghetti is just thrown at the wall.”
For Trump's supporters to make a move like this shows that DeSantis is a very real threat to Trump's path to the nomination.
A lot of Republicans just seem to prefer the issue-focused approach of DeSantis to the personal attacks, mean tweets, and legal entanglements Trump currently faces.