by WorldTribune Staff, September 23, 2020
Leftist billionaire Michael Bloomberg could face a criminal investigation for paying the outstanding fines and fees of 32,000 convicted felons in Florida so they could regain their right to vote, Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz warned.
Speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday, Gaetz said he had spoken to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody about Bloomberg’s effort which is aimed at adding votes to the Democrat Party column.
Reports on Tuesday said that Bloomberg had raised over $16 million for, and donated $5 million to, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to pay off the fines of felons to enable them to vote in the November election.
According to a memo from the Bloomberg team, which was obtained by The Washington Post, the billionaire businessman saw the effort in Florida as “a more cost-effective way of adding votes to the Democratic column than investing money to persuade voters who already have the right to vote.”
“We have identified a significant vote share that requires a nominal investment. The data shows that in Florida, black voters are a unique universe unlike any other voting bloc, where the Democratic support rate tends to be 90%-95%,” the memo read.
To Gaetz and Moody, however, there are legal concerns regarding Bloomberg’s political spending in this specific case.
“I believe there may be a criminal investigation already underway of the Bloomberg-connected activities in Florida,” Gaetz told Hannity.
“[Under Florida law] it’s a third-degree felony for someone to either directly or indirectly provide something of value to impact whether or not someone votes. So the question is whether or not paying off someone’s fines and legal obligations counts as something of value, and it clearly does. If Michael Bloomberg was offering to pay off people’s credit card debts, you would obviously see the value in that,” Gaetz said.
“When you improve someone’s net worth by eliminating their financial liabilities, that’s something of value. Normally, it would be very difficult to prove that that was directly linked to impacting whether or not someone was going to vote. But they literally wrote their own admission,” the Florida Republican argued, referencing a Washington Post report.
Gaetz argued that the memo helped prove that this could be viewed as bribery.
“The law is clear, this is something of value, and I am encouraged after my conversation with the attorney general. I hope we have good law enforcement all over the country looking for the cheating and the tricks that these Democrats are going to try in this election,” Gaetz said.