Ron DeSantis: Arrested donors appeared ‘legitimate’

Ron DeSantis 10.16.19
Parnas also hosted two fundraisers for DeSantis in 2018.

A Soviet-born South Florida businessman arrested last week on federal campaign-finance charges seemed just “like any other donor,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.

DeSantis was among Florida Republican candidates who received contributions during the 2018 election cycle from Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were arrested on campaign-finance charges involving the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action.

With photos emerging this week of the duo close by DeSantis during his election-night party last November, DeSantis said Wednesday he was unaware of the alleged illegal activities and that the two appeared “legitimate.”

“I knew Parnas. I didn’t know the other guy as much,” DeSantis said while in Jupiter to announce environmental legislation for the 2020 session. “But this was a guy who at RNC (Republican National Committee) functions, Trump Victory functions, he was at a lot of these things, was I think viewed as one of the top supporters of the President in Florida. And so, it was just like any other donor. Nothing more than that.”

The Miami Herald reported that Parnas also hosted two fundraisers for DeSantis in 2018.

After the charges emerged in the federal case, DeSantis announced he was turning over to the federal government the $50,000 that Parnas and Fruman contributed to his political committee through a Delaware corporation called Global Energy Producers.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a four-count indictment, filed in the Southern District of New York, contended Parnas and Fruman funneled money from a single Russian donor through Global Energy Producers to advance their financial interests and that of at least one Ukrainian government official.

Similar to DeSantis, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast announced he was turning over to the federal treasury the $2,433 his campaign received from Global Energy Producers.

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Rick Scott told the news media Monday that the former Governor was donating money — $5,400 his campaign received from Fruman and $15,000 that went from Fruman to the Rick Scott Victory Fund — to Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Parnas and Fruman have drawn headlines as they are alleged to have helped President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, investigate political opponents of the president.

Florida Democrats have seized on the developments to try to link the arrested men to DeSantis.

“Ron DeSantis has a lot of questions to answer about his relationships with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman,” Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Juan Penalosa said in a statement Tuesday. “DeSantis has skirted around the truth. It’s clear that he had a relationship with both men and owes Floridians the truth about what kind of influence they have over him.”

On Wednesday, before DeSantis responded to a question from a reporter in Jupiter, the Democratic Party issued a release asking: “What is DeSantis hiding from his relationship with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman?”

DeSantis’ campaign received its donation from Global Energy Producers a day after the former Congressman was endorsed in the gubernatorial contest by Trump.


Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Jim Turner

Jim Turner is a Capitol reporter for the News Service of Florida, providing coverage on issues ranging from transportation and the environment to Legislative and Cabinet politics, which are some of the areas he worked in 20 years with TCPalm in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. Jim grew up in Millburn, New Jersey, where he started his journalism career providing weekly reports on the high school soccer team --- of which he was a member--- to the local Millburn Item. Jim received degrees in journalism and history from High Point University in North Carolina.


  • DUMP TRUMP !!!

    October 16, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    Apparently, plenty of blindly partisan Republican donors thought that Trump, Manafort, Cohen, et. al. were also “legitimate”. (Meanwhile, certainly up in the Northeast, everybody knew they were garden-variety crooks and bad guys!)

  • Sonja Fitch

    October 16, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Desantis. Open your eyes! Use your brain. You are one of the Kool Aid zombies of goptrumper Cult. Evil Trump ain’t notin but a Moscow Bitch for Putin. Save your soul DeDantis. You are beginning to be as stupid as Kool aid guzzler Gaetz!

  • John Kociuba

    October 16, 2019 at 11:21 pm

    Dear Citizens,

    Re: New York Communist Trap

    In this Civil War decency and justice are out the window foreas the same USDOJ/FBI filled with Democratic-Socialists aka Menshevik Communist knew about Jeffrey Epstein’s pedophile island and did nothing along with Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Diane Feinstein, Bernie Madoff, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and the sea of Communists and crooks ignored justice to investigate everything “TRUMP RELATED” in a Coup D Etat to overthrow a duly elected President and judicial tyranny from the Communists in the Northeast to threaten our SOUTHERN REPUBLICAN BROTHERS!

    Kangaroo Northeast Courts will use their titles to drag Republicans to gulags. WE SHOULD NOT SUBMIT!

    P.S. “The Specter Of Communism” in audio book

    TRUMP/PENCE 2020

Comments are closed.


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