DeSantis, Florida's attorney general call for investigation into $16M Bloomberg donations to help felons vote

The donation could be a violation of state laws against offering incentives to people or groups in exchange for voting in a particular manner.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis called for investigations Wednesday into former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joining the effort to help Florida felons pay outstanding legal fees so they can register to vote in November.

Moody, saying her office was acting at the request of DeSantis, asked the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Bloomberg raising at least $16 million for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, contending it could be a violation of state laws against offering incentives to people or groups in exchange for voting in a particular manner.

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Before the money for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition was announced, Bloomberg reportedly was putting $100 million into Florida to help Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential effort.

The coalition has collected more than $20 million for a “Fines and Fees” fund established in response to a state law and a recent court ruling requiring felons to pay “legal financial obligations” --- fees, fines, costs and restitution --- to be eligible to vote.

Coalition Executive Director Desmond Meade denied Wednesday that the money raised by Bloomberg is being used to target Black and Hispanic voters to shore up support for Biden, as reported by the Washington Post.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody defended her call Thursday for further investigation into whether billionaire Mike Bloomberg violated state law when he reportedly raised $16 million to pay fines and restitutions of 32,000 felons in that state to help them be eligible to vote in the Nov. 3 presidential election.

“We know to win Florida we will need to persuade, motivate and add new votes to the Biden column,” according to a Bloomberg memo, the Washington Post reported. “This means we need to explore all avenues for finding the needed votes when so many votes are already determined.”

Moody said the memo raised concerns.

"When you look at the memo and what was alleged, when you hear words like we need to get this done, investing money to targeted particular group of voters that may be predisposed to vote a certain way, that raises concerns that you are directly influencing or even indirectly giving money to persuade votes to go a certain way," Moody told "Fox & Friends."