TALLAHASSEE — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered his political committee to turn over $50,000 to the federal government, money his campaign received last year from a shell corporation that is now at the heart of an indictment against two foreign-born associates of Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.
Global Energy Producers LLC donated the money to the DeSantis campaign weeks before he won the Republican primary for governor. Campaign finance records show the donation came a day before Trump gave DeSantis a “full endorsement” in his run against GOP establishment favorite Adam Putnam.
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A federal indictment made public today accuses Global Energy of being a front group to mask the source of campaign donations. The FBI on Wednesday arrested Lev Parnas, which the indictment identifies as a Ukrainian-born American, and and Igor Fruman, who was born in Belarus and became an American citizen.
DeSantis spokesperson Helen Aguirre Ferré called the Global Energy allegations “troubling.”
“Governor DeSantis is directing the political action committee to return the money to the federal government,” she said in a written statement.
Earlier in the day, when the arrests of Parnas and Fruman first became public, Ferré said the governor “does not have a relationship with these individuals nor has he had a one-on-one meeting with them. They may have attended some political events in 2018. Of course, the governor does not condone any illegal activities.”
The Miami Herald reported this week that Parnas was a host for two DeSantis fundraisers last year. The newspaper described one as a small event held at a “South Florida residence with fewer than 30 people attending, including the governor. The other gathering was headlined by Donald Trump Jr.”