A Soviet-born South Florida businessman arrested last week on federal campaign-finance charges seemed just “like any other donor,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.
DeSantis was among Florida Republican candidates who received contributions during the 2018 election cycle from Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were arrested on campaign-finance charges involving the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action.
With photos emerging this week of the duo close by DeSantis during his election-night party last November, DeSantis said Wednesday he was unaware of the alleged illegal activities and that the two appeared “legitimate.”
“I knew Parnas. I didn’t know the other guy as much,” DeSantis said while in Jupiter to announce environmental legislation for the 2020 session. “But this was a guy who at RNC (Republican National Committee) functions, Trump Victory functions, he was at a lot of these things, was I think viewed as one of the top supporters of the president in Florida. And so, it was just like any other donor. Nothing more than that.”
The Miami Herald reported that Parnas also hosted two fundraisers for DeSantis in 2018.
After the charges emerged in the federal case, DeSantis announced he was turning over to the federal government the $50,000 that Parnas and Fruman contributed to his political committee through a Delaware corporation called Global Energy Producers.
The Wall Street Journal reported that a four-count indictment, filed in the Southern District of New York, contended Parnas and Fruman funneled money from a single Russian donor through Global Energy Producers to advance their financial interests and that of at least one Ukrainian government official.
Similar to DeSantis, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., announced he was turning over to the federal treasury the $2,433 his campaign received from Global Energy Producers.
A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Rick Scott told the news media Monday that the former governor was donating money — $5,400 his campaign received from Fruman and $15,000 that went from Fruman to the Rick Scott Victory Fund — to Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Parnas and Fruman have drawn headlines as they are alleged to have helped President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, investigate political opponents of the president.
Florida Democrats have seized on the developments to try to link the arrested men to DeSantis.
“Ron DeSantis has a lot of questions to answer about his relationships with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman,” Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Juan Penalosa said in a statement Tuesday. “DeSantis has skirted around the truth. It’s clear that he had a relationship with both men and owes Floridians the truth about what kind of influence they have over him.”
On Wednesday, before DeSantis responded to a question from a reporter in Jupiter, the Democratic Party issued a release asking: “What is DeSantis hiding from his relationship with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman?”
DeSantis’ campaign received its donation from Global Energy Producers a day after the former congressman was endorsed in the gubernatorial contest by Trump.
–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida
“Republlicans are bought and paid for by the RUSSIANS.”
Trump and DeSantis was elected because of Trump Voters. Both reflect the will of a sick declining nation. People get the government they deserve. At least Richard Nixon did not betray his country to the Russians.
Rick Crouse says
A nation on the rebound because of Trump voters.Just keep your head in the sand and listen to what msm tells you to think,Lol
“rebound” , what are you talking about?
1.8 trillion dollars have been to Americans debt since 2016-2019. It is easy to boost the economy with a credit card! That is exactly what tRUMP did with a huge tax cut which will run up another TRILLION to the national debt to be passed on to future generations. The debt does matter when the interest payment ONLY begins to equal the amount spent on many essential government services! Why are there a record number of farmers declaring bankruptcy after Trump started a trade war ?
THE RUSSIANS HAVE ALREADY GIVEN HIM CREDIT.
Just like settin back and listening to FOX or 30000 lies and counting. lmao. 4 more years of free entertainment. Once again not real enamored of the other side either. Go ahead point the finger that’s all you got…..
IMPEACHMENT with Florida ties hmmmmmm Thats what they all say Mr. Governor
For the record…Voted for Desantis
C goodfellow says
Timing is everything … one day after Trump’s endorsement the money comes in…just like any other donor.
«Global Energy Producers»
This is the same DeSantis who helped thwart the memorial to the crew of the USS Liberty in Palm Coast. Is anyone surprised he is in league with scumbags like these?
Gary R says
People still whining about Trump and the Republicans. LOL. It is 2019 Hello! President Trump is going to win 2020 anyways hands down. Democrats are just losers and making it easy for Trump to win with their fantasy ideas. Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama has a better chance of beating Trump then the 12 clowns running now.
HEY Gary . One has to be in Office to run for Reelection. Not saying will or wont happen. Cant be too sure, including me. Personally don’t care for either side. Talk about HELLO tell POTUS to stop talking about people who are long gone and get something done besides talk incessantly . LOL to you too.
As a former Military Officer, DeSantis should do the honorable thing and resign from office. It’s becoming clearer everyday that the entire Republican Party has been bought and paid for by Russia. If any true Amrerican is still registered as a Republican, they should denounce the Party once and for all. It’s past time for people to stand up and defend our Country from criminals, crooks and terrorists like we have living in the White House. If you give a FUCK about your family and your Counry, you will say enough is enough. Country over Party, let’s throw all the Republicans out of office and out of our Country!
I’m QUITE certain all of that is going to happen any day now.
@waltz did – still a tiny ember of conscience – even in a trump towel boy
Traveling Rep says
More beautiful Trump Derangement Syndrome! Keep it up, it is going to be an easy “W” for our National Treasure: Donald J. Trump! MAGA!!! Trump 2020.
The hatred of Trump on the left is insanity in motion. They are literally touting going back to fight in Syria again. Since when did Lefties become war hawks? Since Trump decided to get us out of these endless wars. It would make no difference if he found a way to magically solve all of the worlds problems, the hatred on the left would never cease. They are so irate, they cannot even think straight. The lib tears are delicious!
The Impeachment Inquiry Proceedings and mounting evidence by credible witnesses turning up the pressure on the likes of POTUS , Rudy et al… are even more delicious than even a GDI like me could imagine. Think I will have second helping . GET OVER IT
Current TTT administration. Our country sold to the highest bidder!
With the way politics are today, it makes me wonder if there are any really honest, well meaning leaders left on either side of the aisle.
Just like any donor to the republicrumb party !!!!!
What else is new? says
Ron- poll tax – Trump sycophant – anti medicaid expansion – scary on the environment- favor of busting teacher unions – DeSantis clearly knew and enjoyed the friendship and big dollars of Lev and Igor. Real sneeze.