March 25, 2023

The primary super PAC supporting Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has filed an ethics complaint against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for running a shadow campaign.

NBC News reported:

Make America Great Again Inc. is filing a 15-page complaint Wednesday with the Florida Commission on Ethics, a draft of which was obtained exclusively by NBC News.

It asks the commission to probe whether pro-DeSantis super PACs, his “personally lucrative book tour,” and a continued wave of state-level campaign contributions, among other things, “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.”

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Team DeSantis responded in a statement:

Trump ran a shadow campaign for president for years before he officially filed the paperwork so it is pretty rich that his allies are accusing DeSantis of doing what Trump has already done. Ron DeSantis is using the very conventional ‘book tour’ route to boost visibility that presidential candidates have used for decades.

It is a frivolous ethics complaint with the state of Florida, but it shows that Trump and his allies are going to try to paint DeSantis as corrupt. One of the biggest challenges that DeSantis will face is his insistence on running a conventional political campaign against Trump.

In 2016, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush all attempted to run conventional campaigns against Trump in the Republican primary and they lost. Hillary Clinton ran a traditional general election campaign against Trump and lost. Joe Biden ran an unconventional campaign where he criticized Trump but didn’t engage with the Trump smear tactics.

Trump is going to throw everything at DeSantis. The former president will ignore the rules of campaigning while getting dirty and ugly. The ethics complaint is the tip of the iceberg, and DeSantis had better be ready to respond.

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