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Matt Gaetz calls for investigation into Mike Bloomberg for felon voting ‘bribe’

Bloomberg vowed to raise funds to pay fees so felons can vote.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz is asking Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody to launch an investigation into Michael Bloomberg for paying off felons’ debts, which the Congressman called potential bribery.

Bloomberg, a New York Democratic billionaire and former presidential candidate, has waded into Florida in an effort to raise millions for felons to pay off their debts so they can vote in the November Election. In Florida, felons must have served their sentence and paid all court costs, fines, fees and restitutions to have their voting rights restored.

That, the Fort Walton Beach Republican said during a Fox Business appearance on Lou Dobbs Tonight, was politically motivated and potential bribery and vote-buying.

“It’s not every felon. It’s just those which they have specifically identified as the Biden voters,” Gaetz said. “That’s offering a bribe, an inducement, for someone to behave a certain way in voting.”

The money is targeted for felons who registered to vote while the law was in question and who owe $1,500 or less, which accounts for about 31,100 people, Bloomberg advisers say. The Florida Rights Restitution Council had raised about $5 million before Bloomberg joined the effort with a call to raise nearly $17 million more.

“This isn’t on the level. This isn’t just advertising money. This is a specific inducement to a specific segment of voters to get them to vote a certain way, and I think it could be a crime,” Gaetz said.

Furthermore, he called it the former New York City Mayor’s worst waste of money since his presidential bid this campaign cycle.

“Michael Bloomberg was engaged in a leveraged buyout of the Democratic Party,” Gaetz said. “He didn’t meet the rules, but he got on the debate stage anyway, and he probably regretted it because (Massachusetts Sen.) Elizabeth Warren fed him into a woodchipper.”

Dobbs also reheated attacks Gaetz made Monday against Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Maine Sen. Susan Collins for refusing to vote on an anticipated nomination by President Donald Trump to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s seat on the Supreme Court.

That day, Gaetz challenged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to strip funding and committee assignments from the dissenting GOP lawmakers. While he admitted that the senior Senator from Kentucky doesn’t take orders from him, an enduring Trump movement would require lawmakers who “confront their duties, not reject them.”

“I’m sick and tired of President Trump’s voters being taken for granted,” Gaetz said. “And I think in Alaska and Maine and elsewhere, if someone’s not willing to do their job, maybe the voters ought to withhold their vote if senators withhold theirs.”

Withholding funding and revoking committee roles for offending lawmakers would solidify support for Trump’s policies in a potential second term, he said. The Congressman contrasted that possibility against the first half of the President’s term when Paul Ryan was House Speaker.

“I’m so frustrated that when we had unified control of the government, we followed Paul Ryan off a cliff and didn’t get immigration done, didn’t get entitlement reform done, a lot of things that the President wanted to see happen,” Gaetz said. “So now I think we’ve got to set the standard so that going forward, we achieve the full potential of this presidency.”

Written By

Renzo Downey covers the Florida Legislature for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at renzo@floridapolitics.com and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.

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