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Ron DeSantis camp hammers Andrew Gillum for hiding truth about NYC, Costa Rica trips

On Tuesday evening, the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Gillum urged Republican rival Ron DeSantis and President Donald Trump to “stop demonizing the FBI,” regarding its “probe into Russian electoral collusion and interference.”

“Congressman DeSantis and President Trump should allow the agency to do its work,” Gillum said.

“Here in Florida, we’ve done everything we can to aid the agency, while Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump have done the exact opposite — demonizing the FBI and making the case that collusion is not a crime,” Gillum added.

Gillum, who spent much of last weekend addressing the FBI investigation in Tallahassee, looked to quell that perpetually bubbling controversy as Tuesday ended with what was intended to be a story-wrapping media release.

However, the DeSantis campaign believes the story is only just beginning.

“It becomes clearer by the day why the FBI is interested in Andrew Gillum and his associates. These receipts do nothing to shed light on his luxury trips to Costa Rica and New York City with lobbyists and undercover FBI agents. In fact, they simply raise more questions about Gillum’s ongoing involvement. The people of Florida deserve answers, and Andrew Gillum keeps refusing to provide them,” spokesman Stephen Lawson said Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday morning, the DeSantis camp continued to press its position on an “incomplete” release of data.

“Gillum’s campaign released partial receipt documentation from his trips to Costa Rica and New York City with lobbyists and undercover FBI agents. This comes after weeks of Gillum promising to release them, and amidst an ongoing ethics investigation into the trips by the state commission on ethics,” the campaign contended.

The Mayor released long-promised receipts and calendars from personal trips to New York City and Costa Rica, along with what the campaign calls “unprecedented email and searchable calendars released previously this year to news media and the public.”

The receipts are not all-encompassing. The DeSantis campaign points out omissions.

Regarding the New York City trip, airfare is not receipted. Likewise omitted: proof of payment for a ticket to “Hamilton” (which Gillum claims to have gotten from his brother), a ticket for a Statue of Liberty boat ride (“organized and attended by undercover FBI agents”, per DeSantis’ camp), receipts for trip expenditures, and proof of payment for the hotel.

Regarding the Costa Rica jaunt, there is no proof of purchase for Gillum’s plane ticket, nor is there a breakdown of how much “cash” Gillum paid for his part of the trip.

“His receipt simply shows a $400 cash withdrawal, but this raises even more questions. If he actually paid his and his wife’s fair share of the trip, it would be more than $400,” the campaign notes, adding that “Adam Corey’s lawyer has since refuted even this premise by saying ‘to date Mr. Corey has not received any cash from the mayor.'”

The Gillum campaign contends that Gillum is not a “subject” of the FBI investigation, and frames the Mayor’s involvement as peripheral.

Regarding dealings with subpoenaed friend and lobbyist Adam Corey, the campaign allows that Gillum found out after the fact that his brother Marcus scored a Hamilton ticket from Corey, and that “per normal procedure, Corey sent Gillum an official calendar invitation for a meeting in Tallahassee on May 16, 2016. Gillum agreed to the meeting in order to discuss City business.”

For the DeSantis camp, buffeted for a week with criticism after the candidate said electing Gillum would “monkey” up the progress the state has made in the Rick Scott era, Gillum’s inconsistencies on this issue feel like a winning campaign issue.

“When it comes to Andrew Gillum’s Tallahassee dealings, his dizzying web of deception is quickly entangling his bid for Governor. The voters of Florida — and the FBI — are catching on quickly, and it won’t be long before Gillum is simply forced to answer,” the DeSantis campaign asserts.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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