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Pro-Trump super PAC loses its complaint over DeSantis funding

A Florida ethics panel said the pro-Trump group had "no legal basis" to allege Florida's governor has used unauthorized money for a potential presidential bid.

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MAGA world is apparently trying to pick at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from all angles. 

The Republican is widely expected to launch a presidential bid in the coming months, and former President Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear he’s willing to do or say anything to throw DeSantis off course. 

Trump routinely rails against “Meatball” Ron “DeSanctimonious” (insults he has shopped in the past) on social media, and he even quoted a ReidOut Blog post I wrote about DeSantis to bash the governor despite the fact I’m a very vocal critic of Trump, as well.

Trump’s supporters have tried to get at DeSantis, too — mostly by repeating Trump’s criticisms, but in some cases taking their efforts even further. 

That’s an apt descriptor for MAGA Inc., a pro-Trump super PAC that recently filed a complaint alleging that DeSantis was using unauthorized funds from supporters and a political committee linked to the governor. But on Monday, a Florida ethics panel, whose members were selected by DeSantis and leaders of the Florida House and Senate, tossed the complaint.

Ooh, spicy

As NBC News reported

A Florida ethics panel found no legal basis for a complaint filed by a pro-Donald Trump super PAC alleging Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had violated a series of election and ethics-related laws.

The complaint, first reported by NBC News, was filed by Taylor Budowich, who runs a pro-Trump super PAC, MAGA Inc. It alleged that DeSantis has taken gifts in violation of state ethics rules from his own political committee and outside advocacy organizations, as well as part of a national tour to promote his book.

Here’s the crux of the complaint, from the same article: 

The complaint centered on the idea that DeSantis’ book tour and state contributions from outside groups were “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.”

It’s safe to say the gloves are off when it comes to Trump and DeSantis (the former president’s insults and implications about the governor have left no doubt). Trump’s supporters aren’t merely satisfied with hurting DeSantis rhetorically — the complaint shows they want to do legal damage to him, as well.

And, I must say, it’s rather ironic that Team Trump is claiming DeSantis is using unauthorized funds to help his campaign as Trump is facing a criminal indictment that accuses him of doing the same thing. DeSantis, you may recall, attacked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over that case — while also appearing to take a jab at Trump

So, who knows? Maybe MAGA Inc.’s complaint was meant as a bit of payback for that. But it’s certainly not exclusively about that jab. More broadly, Team Trump knows DeSantis is likely to be the biggest obstacle to Trump winning the Republican nomination. And when it comes to stopping DeSantis, apparently no option is off the board.