Experts question the legal and ethical tactics of Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during an Iowa GOP reception on May 13, 2023 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during an Iowa GOP reception on May 13, 2023 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Photo credit Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn’t yet made it a week into his presidential campaign, and already it has been struck with legal and ethical concerns about how some in his campaign have sought out contributions.

Last week, DeSantis administration staffers were allegedly caught sending text messages to lobbyists in the state, seeking political contributions for the governor’s presidential bid, NBC News reported.

Nikki Medoro spoke with KCBS political analyst and San Jose State political science professor emeritus Larry Gerston to find out just how serious the claims are and what effect they could have on his campaign.

Gertson shared that it’s common for a politician’s staff members to leave their government position and work on a campaign, engaging in fundraising and other roles. However, he says there has to be a separation between the two positions when a worker decides to do so.

“If the staffers are doing this while on the clock for the government, that’s the problem. It’s an ethical problem, and it well could be a legal problem,” Gertson said.

The political analyst shared that situations like these are often monitored closely to ensure nothing unethical takes place.

Gertson went on to share that the situation is new for DeSantis, noting that it’s entirely different when someone is running for president compared to running for governor.

“Once you’re in the big leagues, running for the presidency, everybody is watching. This could be a problem for Ron DeSantis,” Gertson said.

As for how this could affect the governor’s campaign, Gertson says there is no way it won’t hurt the presidential candidate at least a little, but his response dictates how bad it gets.

“If nothing else, DeSantis and his campaign now have to give an explanation. ‘Yes, this was true, it’s no longer the case,’ or ‘Yes, this is true, we have to look into it,’” Gertson said. “You can’t walk away and ignore it.”

Featured Image Photo Credit: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images