Ron DeSantis vows grand jury to investigate Tallahassee corruption, Andrew Gillum
Ron DeSantis is the 2022 favorite, according to a prediction market.

Ron DeSantis

After railing against his opponent’s potential role in a scandal in Tallahassee, Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis vowed Sunday that, if elected Governor, he’ll impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate local corruption.

But that’s something he can’t do without the concurrence of the state’s highest court. Moreover, investigating “local” crimes isn’t the scope of a “statewide” panel.

DeSantis’ pledge, made at a campaign rally in Melbourne, came moments after DeSantis inveighed at length against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum, accusing him of “using the office to accept illegal gifts and then to do favors for the lobbyists who arranged those gifts.

“And he’s been lying about it.”

Gillum has insisted the FBI has told him he is not the focus of its probe and that he has been cooperating with investigators.

But as the case has not closed, DeSantis sees it otherwise.

DeSantis’ accusations Sunday against Gillum were based on reports of the FBI investigation into corruption in Tallahassee, buoyed last week by reports that Gillum had received gifts from an undercover FBI agent posing as a developer.

That drew occasional shouts of “Lock him up!” from within the crowd of about 150 gathered in the parking lot outside his Brevard County campaign office.

Without specifically acknowledging the shouts, DeSantis essentially concurred with them, threatening his political opponent with a criminal investigation.

“Corrupt municipalities are bad for the state. What I’m going to do to combat that is, we can’t allow the corruption in Tallahassee to go on. We don’t want that to go on in any of our cities. So I’m going to use my power as Governor to impanel a statewide grand jury to go after municipal corruption,” DeSantis said.

Gillum and his campaign did not respond Sunday evening.

State law, in part, says whenever “the Governor, for good and sufficient reason, deems it to be in the public interest to impanel a statewide grand jury, she or he may petition in writing to the Supreme Court for an order impaneling a statewide grand jury.

“The petition shall state the general crimes or wrongs to be inquired into and shall state that said crimes or wrongs are of a multi-circuit nature,” meaning whatever corruption alleged has to extend over at least two of the state’s judicial circuits. Those crimes can include anything “involving, or resulting in, fraud or deceit upon any person” and “racketeering.”

If there were any intended implication that DeSantis’ pledge for a state investigation into local corruption was not necessarily a specific threat aimed at Gillum, DeSantis returned to Gillum in his very next sentence.

“The kicker is, he still says, he still clings to this idea that he’s not being investigated. I’m thinking to myself, ‘Wait a minute. What other reason would an undercover agent have to grease your palms if you weren’t being investigated?’ ” DeSantis said.

“His conduct there with the pay-to-play and the corruption, that’s just who he is as a career politician,” DeSantis added.

The comments highlighted DeSantis’ 24-minute remarks that were mostly about Gillum. In what likely would be much to Gillum’s annoyance, DeSantis refused and scoffed at Gillum’s request last week that, as a sign of respect, DeSantis ought to refer to Gillum as “Mayor Gillum,” as Gillum has been referring to DeSantis as “Congressman DeSantis.”

DeSantis went on, in most references Sunday, to simply call him “Andrew,” and then mocked the request.

“I’m thinking, OK, if you want to have a proper title, we can call you Crooked Mayor Gillum. We can call you Failed Mayor Gillum. There’s a whole way we can go with this,” DeSantis said.

Not that corruption was DeSantis’ only charge against Gillum.

Throughout the speech, the Republican spoke briefly of his plans on topics including taxes, crime prevention, opposition to sanctuary cities, guns, appointments of Supreme Court justices, power of the government, and the Central American refugee caravan.

Each time, DeSantis quickly pivoted to Gillum, speculating about what Gillum would do, pushing not just contrast but reasons for deep fear of the prospect that Gillum might become governor. In some cases, such as health care plans, DeSantis went after Gillum’s ideas without discussing his own.

“This election there will be consequences for this choice for the state of Florida. I think for the vast majority of Floridians they’re going to be negative if Andrew Gillum is elected,” DeSantis said.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


31 comments

  • Job

    October 28, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    And so the Apprentice named his opponent “crooked Andrew” and vowed to “lock him up”. The script had been written. The Art of the Deal.

    • Nordonia Nate

      October 28, 2018 at 10:53 pm

      Job…

      Isn’t Gillum under investigation by the FBI for corruption? Hasn’t Gillum blamed others for his corruption?

      What’s amazing is that YOU are willing to close your mind to the simple fact that Gillum practically admitted his corruption.. AND YOU DON’T CARE..

      • Oliver harden

        October 29, 2018 at 7:11 am

        isn’t your President is also under investigation to. but you look the other way. One word Hypocrites.

  • Diana LeBrun

    October 28, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    What is the purpose of this? What does this do but spread more hate and divide us more. I’m sorry but Congressman DeSantis is a small and pathetic man that does not deserve our vote. He deserves to be retired and go about his own way. #NeverMyGovernor

    • Nordonia Nate

      October 28, 2018 at 11:02 pm

      Diana…

      Love your hypocrisy… The simple FACT that Gillum is currently under corruption investigation by the FBI … AND YOU DON’T CARE speaks volumes..

      While on the subject of being divisive… Once AGAIN… You don’t have any issues with Gillum playing the race card any chance he gets ….

      Here’s the true problem… IF it was the person running against Gillum under FBI investigation…. YOU WOULD HE SCREAMING TO HAVE THEM REMOVED FROM THE BALLOT..

      Hypocrites like YOU fuel divisive behavior with your hate and hypocrisy… SHAME ON YOU

      • TD

        October 29, 2018 at 7:10 am

        Nate, you are clear and correct in your response. What liberals don’t understand is that millions of people have opinions that are different than theirs. This ideological blindness breeds dissension. As long as liberals continue to make decisions based on emotions as opposed to logic they will remain blind.

  • Mike C

    October 28, 2018 at 10:39 pm

    Mr .Gillum Please clean up your act and wait untill the FBI clears your name. WAIT a few more years before you try to get a job that you are not qualified for. I am tired of hearing you use the race card. You and others like to twist the words of good people to fit your agenda.

    • ad2018

      October 29, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Like no one has ever been this obvious.
      ooops…that is a racist comment…
      political race that is.

  • Melissa

    October 28, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    I’m a Democrat and I cannot, in good conscience vote for Andrew Gillum.
    Writing in Gwen Graham for Governor.

    • Michele

      October 28, 2018 at 11:49 pm

      Your write in is an automatic for Gillum, so why vote at all? I

    • Dervin s

      October 28, 2018 at 11:49 pm

      You’re a lier this election is about the issues minimum wage,health care,I’m a Republican i voted for Andrew.

      • RD

        October 29, 2018 at 10:16 am

        oh yeah…I wrote in Bernie…same as you.

    • Pat

      October 31, 2018 at 8:53 pm

      Please why waste an important vote, because by doing this, you ARE voting for Gillum. DeSantis IS a good Man, and Politician. One person brought up about President Trumps investigation, which SHOWS and it’s been proven, there’s no collusion. Believe this Mueller already stated the results will be released AFTER the Midterms, and since Mueller is no good, he knows that His report reveals, nothi,g against President Trump. I hope you will reconsider, and vote for Ron DeSantis, to KEEP Florida from going into a spiral disaster. We cannot afford loosing Big Businesses because of them being taxed out, and us then having State Income Taxes due to all of this expense. I was born and raised in Florida, and we will become a disaster with Gillum. Take care, and may God guide you.

  • Philip Clark

    October 28, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    Mr. Gillum says he has cut down on crime but his city still has the biggest crime rate of our state. That’s sort of like “I plugged a small hole in the Titanic” !

  • Mike C

    October 28, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    Mr.Gillum You cannot have a debate with using the race card? Your type are the real Racist. Your city has done very poorly with serious crime. You take bribes under the table , this has been proven . You have no business on the stage with a man of real character such as Ron Desantis. You have done nothing but push a pencil your entire working life. You dont know hard work and I resent you taking bribes

  • James

    October 28, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    Scott’s prior tenure as CEO of Columbia/HCA about two decades ago, when the hospital company was fined $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud.
    n December 2000, the U.S. Justice Department announced that Columbia/HCA agreed to pay $840 million in criminal fines, civil damages and penalties.
    Among the revelations from the 2000 settlement:
    • Columbia billed Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs for tests that were not necessary or had not been ordered by physicians;
    • The company attached false diagnosis codes to patient records to increase reimbursement to the hospitals;
    • The company illegally claimed non-reimbursable marketing and advertising costs as community education;
    • Columbia billed the government for home health care visits for patients who did not qualify to receive them.
    The government settled a second series of similar claims with Columbia/HCA in 2002 for an additional $881 million. The total for the two fines was $1.7 billion.
    On Scott’s 2010 campaign website, he admitted to the $1.7 billion fine, though the link is no longer on the site.

    Considering that Holier than Thou DeSantis has not provided the receipts for $145,00o in public funds to travel back and forth to Fox News, I will vote a straight Democrat Ticket.

  • P

    October 29, 2018 at 3:37 am

    Obviously if the FBI says he’s not under investigation and he’s been cooperating than why in the hell is people worried? The majority of you Jim Crowe believers would rather die than to embrace change, even if that change came from an individual or individuals who has a different skin color than yours! Idiots..

    • Jeffrey Davis

      October 29, 2018 at 8:32 am

      The FBI has not stated that Mayor Gillum isn’t the focus of the investigation. Only Mayor Gillum has stated that the FBI has assured him that he isn’t the focus of the investigation. He has already demonstrated a penchant for misstatement of fact in relation to this matter. Forgive me if I do not take the good mayor’s word as gospel.

  • MLB

    October 29, 2018 at 5:39 am

    If Floridians really care about the future of this state and want to restore some semblance of sanity to our politics they should reject these two deeply-flawed and polarizing candidates and support historian Darcy Richardson and former State Senator Nancy Argenziano on the Reform Party ticket.

  • Diana

    October 29, 2018 at 6:05 am

    Congressman DeSantis is running a scorched earth race war, campaign.

    The GOP wanted Putnam because he would have had some integrity to run on.

    Very few people that know Congressman DeSantis like him. They call him an arrogant p/rick.

    I sat beside him in a meeting for 40 minutes and I’ve never experienced a more misogynistic, disrespectful and condescending experience.

    His staff, except Elizabeth F and Robert M took their cue from Congressman DeSantis.

    This race could have been about the issues, we deserved that, but it changed on August 29th and it wasn’t Mayor Gillum’s fault.

    As I said before-#NEVERMYGOVERNOR

    The decent people of Florida see what is playing out in front of us.

  • Allen Bird

    October 29, 2018 at 8:45 am

    All because in these 45 lovers mind, Mayor Gillum got a hookup for A 139.00 dollar ticket?!! In the age of the the richest and most corrupt cabinet in history. Where is the $145,000 in recipts for illegal travel this hater who got his a/ss waxed in both debates has refused provide? My kids went to school tally. Never heard of crime ever being a issue. In fact I never seen a report, or news report to that issue. If I were a business in Tally Is sue his as/s for potential business losses. Have any of you EVER heard of this bogus propaganda until this lying 45 acolyte started peddling this lie. I understand it’s politics. It’s the best they got.
    The fundraiser is a definite non issue. Mayor Gillum was no where near that transaction. Of which there was clearly a request for an agreed to be a5000 sponsor of a fund raising dinner by the undercover agent. That’s not illegal. That common and routine. You get sponsors to cover the cost of the event. Then you raise money from the attendees. Whether or not the accountant correctly recorded it, Is a campaign violation that would only merit a sanction( fine). No where is Mayor Gillum
    Involved in that. None of that went to him somebody paid for the fund raiser. Who knows if the agent stiffed them. That happens alot! In fact is be pissed if this guy hadn’t written a check to me yet. Now after we fronted everything by using the donations to cover the cost of the event and he hasn’t paid yet. Still we talking about peanuts.

    Now paying 130k of campaign money 2 weeks before the election to a porn star who 45 had unprotected sex with a few months after he had a child from his 3rd wife in order keep her quite…..Is a crime! But DeSantis and Evangelicals are ok with that. “Nothing to see there ” 2 million in Sercret service for him having to come to Fla almost every weeken to use his Tanning bed. GTFOH.

    • PRTamis

      October 29, 2018 at 10:27 am

      Why not ask receipts of the Jaguars and Lenny Curry in London’s all nighter? shame

  • Allen Bird

    October 29, 2018 at 8:51 am

    All because in these 45 lovers mind, Mayor Gillum got a hookup for A 139.00 dollar ticket?!! In the age of the the richest and most corrupt cabinet in history. Where is the $145,000 in recipts for illegal travel this hater who got his a/ss waxed in both debates has refused provide? My kids went to school tally. Never heard of crime ever being a issue. In fact I never seen a report, or news report to that issue. If I were a business in Tally Is sue his as/s for potential business losses. Have any of you EVER heard of this bogus propaganda until this lying 45 acolyte started peddling this lie. I understand it’s politics. It’s the best they got.
    The fundraiser is a definite non issue. Mayor Gillum was no where near that transaction. Of which there was clearly a request for an agreement to be a 5000 sponsor of a fund raising dinner by the undercover agent. That’s not illegal. That’s common and routine. You get sponsors to cover the cost of the event. Then you raise money from the attendees. Whether or not the accountant correctly recorded it, Is a campaign violation that would only merit a sanction( fine). No where is Mayor Gillum
    Involved in that. None of that went to him. Somebody had to paid for the fund raiser. Who knows if the agent stiffed them. That happens alot! In fact I’d be pissed if this guy hadn’t written a check to me yet. Now after we fronted everything by using own campaign funds to cover the cost of the event and he hasn’t paid yet. Still we talking about peanuts.

    Now paying 130k of campaign money 2 weeks before the election to a porn star who 45 had unprotected sex with a few months after he had a child from his 3rd wife in order keep her quite…..Is a crime! But DeSantis and Evangelicals are ok with that. “Nothing to see there ” 2 million in Sercret service and travel cost for him having to come to Fla almost every weekend to use his Tanning bed.
    That just fine… GTFOH.

    • Hill to pay

      October 29, 2018 at 10:29 am

      2 words…
      Bill Clinton
      dropped your mic

  • James

    October 29, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Gillums platform of expanding health care, investing in Public Education & Teachers salaries, renewable energy & enviromental protections are issues I could get behind.
    DeSantis on the other hand lacks any real platform, coupled with his lies that he will protect people with pre-existing conditions, while at the same time voting to kill the ACA dozens of times. How could anyone trust a politician who tells proveable Lies.
    DeSantis only claim to fame is that he will be subservient/beholden to Trump & that he will rubber stamp everything Trump wants regardless if it is actually good for Floridians.
    It only makes sense to vote straight Democrat in this election.

  • Jonah Moriarty

    October 29, 2018 at 8:58 am

    You are pathetic
    De Santis

  • Dee Brock

    October 29, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Desantis cannot even cone up with his own thoughts or words. Sign of things to come. If elected he will have to check with daddy trump every time he makes a move. Disgusting

  • Ray Tampa

    October 29, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    DeSantis, you have proudly supported efforts to derail investigations involving the most scandal ridden admistration ever. As a member of congress you turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to corruption. You beat up on law enforcement officers such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. Now, you want to investigate alleged corruption in our capital city, if you’re elected.

    You must think we’re stupid. You must think that we can’t remember how you badgered law enforcement officers testifying before your congressional panel. You must think that all the lies you told to the hosts on Fox No-News shows.

    Man, get a life. Get a life as long as it doesn’t involve being Governor of Florida.

Comments are closed.


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