With only a week left until Election Day, Florida Democrat Andrew Gillum is struggling to respond to several new scandals surrounding his campaign.
Recently released records show that Gillum not only repeatedly lied about receiving a personal gift from an undercover FBI agent, but Gillum’s gubernatorial PAC also failed to report a more than $4,000 campaign contribution from the same agent. On top of this, as Politico has reported, the documents show that Gillum may have used official office funds to pay for a campaign trip – an apparent violation of Florida law that’s “punishable by up to a year in prison.”
According to The Tampa Bay Times, Gillum “has been short on answers” on these revelations, exposing that he’s “either unable or unwilling” to answer questions about his dishonesty and unethical conduct.
Gillum’s refusal “to clarify these issues” just shows that he’s run out of lies. Andrew Gillum is too dishonest to be governor.
Tampa Bay Times reports:
Beset by new questions about relationships with lobbyists and FBI agents, Andrew Gillum has been short on answers.
But Tallahassee’s mayor has been either unable or unwilling to answer some of the questions posed about his trips around the globe. And while his campaign denies new allegations that a federal investigator paid $4,300 to cater a kick-off fundraiser for the political committee funding his gubernatorial run, it can’t explain why finance reports contain no mention of any expenses surrounding the event.
Gillum has spent just about his entire general election campaign fending off questions about his travels and contact with a mysterious businessman named “Mike Miller.” After the Tallahassee Democrat reported on a trip to Costa Rica with friends who’d received $2.1 million in public funds for a Tallahassee restaurant in 2013, Gillum voluntarily disclosed airfare and bank statements. In September, he showed a $400 withdrawal to support his story that he paid for his own plane tickets and took out cash to pay for his $941.95 share of a luxury villa that Corey’s lobbying firm had rented in Costa Rica. And he provided a New York hotel invoice made out to the Open Society Foundation to support his story that he first traveled to New York on private business for his job with People for the American Way.
Then this week, only days away from an election that could make Gillum one of the biggest stars in U.S. politics, Corey began releasing scores of text messages and emails detailing efforts to arrange trips around the world with Gillum and their time spent together in Manhattan and abroad.
Though much of what was in the documents has already been reported by The Democrat, the emails and texts contained revelations, including texts that proved that Miller, the undercover FBI agent, did indeed purchase Gillum’s “Hamilton” ticket and the hotel room where he stayed afterward (even if it didn’t touch on whether Gillum or his brother reimbursed anyone).
The documents also included details of a trip to Qatar, where Gillum invited Corey after agreeing to appear at a UCLA conference in the capital city of Doha. Gillum and Corey also made a stop in Dubai, and the mayor was copied and mentioned on emails about meet-ups between Corey and Richard Smotkin, the Comcast lobbyist who drew media attention earlier this year after it emerged he had helped organize a $100,000 trip to Morocco for former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.
The documents also reflected efforts to organize an April 2016 fundraiser at Corey’s Tallahassee apartment to benefit Forward Florida, a newly created political committee that has since raised $32 million toward Gillum’s gubernatorial run. Corey invoiced Miller $4,300 for a catering bill afterward.
In the fallout, Gillum has stuck by his explanations about how he paid for his New York trip and what he knew — or didn’t know — about the FBI’s involvement at the time. His campaign says the attorney releasing Corey’s communications to the public is a Republican operative disguised as a defense attorney.
But they haven’t given responses to some unanswered questions, including:
Why Gillum’s campaign has no record of any expenses for the April 11, 2016, Forward Florida fundraiser at Corey’s house, and why Gillum would write a “personal note” to Miller if he paid for nothing.
Whether Smotkin purchased anything for Gillum during his stay in Doha
Why Gillum has said he felt like Corey manipulated him into meeting with undercover agents digging for dirt, when records showed he relied on the lobbyist to arrange meetings and at times asked him to make connections.
Gillum’s campaign has declined over the past week and again this weekend to clarify these issues, which were placed in writing and emailed to his campaign.”