Election Integrity in Florida is making headlines once again, but the accusation isn’t being directed at Democrats. Seminole County GOP Chairman Ben Paris has been found guilty of a misdemeanor charge.
The “ghost candidate” trial has reached a verdict, and now Democratic lawmakers are calling for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) to respond. Florida Rep. Anna V. Eskamani (D) said she didn’t anticipate “anti-democratic” Gov. DeSantis responding to the trial.
Rep. Eskamani provided details on the sentencing, saying that a judge had ordered: “Paris to pay FDLE’s investigation costs ($42K) and serve 12 months probation, plus 200 community service hours.” She added that “Paris will split costs of the FDLE probe with anyone else judged guilty.”
Paris was found guilty of making an illegal campaign contribution to a “ghost candidate.” The misdemeanor charge is for making a donation under someone else’s name, and he is one of five people that are accused of conducting a “ghost candidate” plot.
Steven Smith, Paris’ cousin, testified against him, saying that Paris had reached out to him for a favor.
Because Paris had reached the maximum campaign contribution limit, Paris asked Smith to make a donation in his name.
“He called me saying a friend of his was doing some last-minute fundraising for his campaign that needed some last-minute donations, but he had already reached the campaign contribution limit,” Smith said, adding that Paris “wanted to know if he could make a donation using my name.”
In response to the sentencing, Rep. Eskamani took to social media to slam Republicans, questioning if Governor DeSantis would be hosting a press conference to comment on the political ploy.
“Seems highly unlikely since Governor DeSantis is anti-democratic, selectively enforces the law and will do anything he can to maintain power, which is why we need to fight back.”