Democrat Florida Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum’s money troubles are piling up.
A new report from Politico claims Gillum used an official Tallahassee Mayoral office account to pay for a private flight to visit with potential donors to his Gubernatorial campaign.
Gillum paid for the Feb. 12, 2016, round-trip flight from Tallahassee to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport with an official mayor’s office expense account, the Tallahassee Democrat reported last year. The newspaper quoted Gillum’s mayoral office spokesman Jamie Van Pelt saying Gillum took the trip on official city business of talking with Tampa affordable-housing developer Peter Leach about wraparound social services in schools and housing developments. Gillum also found time to meet with high-profile Democrats like Alex Sink and now-Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), Van Pelt had said.
However, the newly released records provided by the lawyer of former Gillum ally Adam Corey under a subpoena issued as part of an investigation by the Florida Commission on Ethics indicate the flight was expressly for Gillum to meet with potential donors to his gubernatorial campaign. Gillum’s 2014 mayoral campaign finance reports show he had moved $10,000 to his official mayoral office account about the time he won the local office in 2014. State law restricts use of the account to only official city business.
As Ed Morrissey points out, Gillum’s problems may grow much larger than a potential electoral loss if the FBI decides to pursue this and other allegations.
The FBI has remained silent on whether Gillum is a target in their probe, but the state can prosecute anyone violating its own laws separately. Violating this law is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison, although a penal sentence would not be a likely outcome; the political damage would be more significant. It might be tough for the Florida Attorney General to ignore at this point, too, given the high profile Gillum has carved out for himself by running for governor.
This is not the first time Gillum’s financial decisions have drawn scrutiny. Recently, documents made public proved that contrary to his claims, Gillum had not paid for a trip to New York City to see the Broadway musical Hamilton. An undercover FBI agent footed the bill for the trip and the tickets.
Last week, reports accused Gillum of accepting a $4,000 donation to the PAC that became his campaign war chest and failed to report the donation.
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