March 16th, 2022 Updated 10:53 A.M. ET
NEW YORK (FCV) – After a recent unveiling of new charges from the Southern District of New York against Russian national Andrew Muraviev for conspiring with Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman, and several others to direct money into U.S. political campaigns, Democrats quickly tried to tie the dirty dealings to Governor Ron DeSantis (R).
“Been waiting more than three years for this to drop. Looks like we may finally find out where Ron DeSantis got the foreign money he used against @AndrewGillum in 2018,” left-wing personality and former President Barack Obama spokesperson Kevin Cate said on Twitter.
Agriculture Commissioner and Democrat candidate for governor Nikki Fried also attacked DeSantis, saying that she has “never taken campaign money funneled from Russian oligarchs,” referencing a $50,000 donation from Global Energy Producers, LLC to DeSantis during the 2018 gubernatorial election in Florida.
Muraviev was described as a “Russian oligarch” by U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in a release.
“The money Muraviev injected into our political system, as alleged, was directed to politicians with views favorable to his business interests and those of his co-conspirators,” Michael J. Discroll, the head of New York’s Federal Bureau of Investigation office,
“As today’s action demonstrates, we will continue to aggressively pursue all those who seek to illegally effect our nation’s elections.”
According to prosecutors, money was used from Muraviev to reimburse political donations in Florida, Nevada and Texas, along with potential use in New York and New Jersey.
Lev Parnas’ son, Aaron Parnas, a strong anti-DeSantis and left-wing “Democratic strategist,” is silent on the charges, according to a social media search.
A DeSantis Nothing-Burger
DeSantis has generally steered clear of giving comprehensive answers on press questions about his relations with Parnas, largely due to the fact that no one was not aware of Parnas’ illegal dealings – at the time, no information of any legal investigation was made public.
In fact, according to the Florida Democrats’ own website page entitled TIMELINE OF RON DESANTIS’S RELATIONSHIP WITH ARRESTED GIULIANI ASSOCIATES, no public indictment occurred until October 9, 2019, over a year after DeSantis received $50,000 from Parnas’ and Fruman’s committee Global Energy Partners.
The $50,000 donation occurred on June 21, 2018. The indictment on October 9, 2019, was followed one day later with DeSantis returning the $50,000 to the federal government.
DeSantis said on Parnas, “I knew Parnas. I didn’t know the other guy as much.”
“But this was a guy who was at [Republican National Committee] functions, Trump Victory functions. He was at a lot of these things,” he continued.
Claims that DeSantis won the 2018 election due to ‘foreign money’ against Andrew Gillum are false – the money was returned before Election Day, and the campaign had more than enough money to operate normally without the additional one-time donation of $50,000.
Another detail with no implications is the fact that a would-be meeting with DeSantis and Parnas five days before Election Day in 2018 never occurred.
Democrats said that Parnas and Furman appeared at various DeSantis election events, but lack any evidence to support the idea that DeSantis is controlled or influenced by so-called ‘foreign money.’
DeSantis laughed off attempts from POLITICO reporter Gary Fineout to ask about his reported texts with Parnas, saying, “What is there more to say about it?”
Cate recklessly repeated a loose allegation from Parnas which, according to Cate, appeared in one of his Twitter Spaces (live podcast-form shows) and claimed that DeSantis got a “burner phone.” No evidence of the phone was provided.
As Cate, who works with the Nikki Fried campaign for governor via his liberal production company CATECOMM, admitted, the renewed effort to implicate DeSantis with Russian money comes as the election season ramps up and Democrats fall behind in Florida.
Desperation among Democrats is mounting as polls continue to show bad news for their electoral aspirations. A February round of polling over the course of 13 days among 685 registered voters from the University Florida found DeSantis up 23 points over Fried.
The RealClearPolitics average of political polls since August of 2021 in a Fried vs DeSantis matchup shows DeSantis with a 12.8 point lead.
Fried’s fundraising is also severely lacking in comparison to DeSantis’ campaign, stacking up a mere $330,000 to DeSantis $8,000,000 in February alone.
A new poll that took place in Miami-Dade County also gave DeSantis a strong favorability rating, with an entire half of Miami-Dade voters viewing him in a positive light, while 48% say they want him to serve another term as governor.
Even 27% of Democrats view DeSantis favorably, the poll said.
The poll was conducted by a Democrat firm – Brendixen & Amandi International.
“DeSantis is significantly over-performing his support in Miami-Dade which last time was almost enough to help elect [DeSantis’ 2018 opponent Andrew] Gillum,” Amandi said to the Miami Herald.
“These numbers should serve as the ultimate wake-up call for Democrats looking to knock off DeSantis or Marco Rubio in 2022, because Gillum carried Miami-Dade County by 21 points in 2018. And yet, here, 48% of Miami-Dade voters say DeSantis deserves to be reelected.”
The attempts to implicate DeSantis with Russian money not only comes as they see lackluster fundraising numbers and polling, but also when animus towards Russians in America reaches another high in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Democratic primary in Florida will take place on August 23, 2022. Election Day takes place on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 – less than 8 months away.
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