The Smoke and Mirrors Political Move Behind DeSantis's 'Empower Parents PAC'

The Smoke and Mirrors Political Move Behind DeSantis's 'Empower Parents PAC'

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
|
July 12, 2023

When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis transferred about $83 million dollars from his state-level political action committee, Empower Parents PAC, to his newly-minted 2024 presidential campaign, political ears perked up around the country, as did red flags.

It was perfectly legal for the Empower Parents PAC to transfer funds over to Governor DeSantis’s presidential super PAC, Never Back Down, or any federal super PAC.

Conservative journalist and activist Laura Loomer recently uncovered a second Empower Parents political action committee, the "Empower Parents Florida" committee chaired by current Speaker of the House Paul Renner.

Loomer, who has been very critical of DeSantis, also discovered and reported the PAC in question transferred $1 million to Renner's newly-created PAC days after the Florida Legislature passed legislation to change the "Resign to Run" law.

In addition, Loomer has called the money transfer between DeSantis’s state PAC and his Never Back Down PAC “shady” and “unethical" and outlined her findings in a very detailed posting on her Loomered Unleashed website.

Loomer is a huge supporter of former President Donald Trump, and her findings, appear completely factual, after our independent review.

Because Loomer is seen as partisan, we looked into all of her allegations and verified the receipts that can be found on the Florida Division of Elections website.

Friends of Ron DeSantis

This political action committee was set up by DeSantis in 2018 to raise money for the governor’s first gubernatorial campaign and was not set up to make any transfers or distributions to federal campaigns or committees.

The Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC changed over chairmen on May 8, 2023, when State Senator Blaise Ingoglia took over the political committee.

A week later on May 15, Sen. Ingoglia changed the Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC’s name to Empower Parents PAC.

Sen. Ingoglia told The Hill in a written statement that under his new leadership, the Empower Parents PAC would “continue to be a pro-parent, pro-student organization committed to protecting parental rights and advancing the Freedom Agenda.”

Huh? How could the PAC have done all of what Ingoglia claims it has accomplished of "protecting parental rights in education" in 1 week?

Two weeks later, and only 6 days after DeSantis formally announced his presidential campaign, Ingoglia penned a letter to the Bureau of Elections chief Donna S. Brown, notifying her that he wished to terminate the Empower Parents PAC.

On May 31, the newly-named Empower Parents PAC transferred the nearly $83 million that DeSantis raised for his gubernatorial reelection through the Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC, and to the Never Back Down PAC.

Ingoglia told The Floridian during the 2023 Florida legislative session that while he supported President Trump, he would not be getting involved in the primary race between DeSantis and Trump, but it is evident that Ingoglia’s statement did not pass the sniff test.

While the Friends of Ron DeSantis committee has been shuttered, all of its past organizational letters, financial expenditures, and other administrative postings dating back to January 2018,  can be found under the Empower Parents PAC.

Interestingly enough, the Empower Parents PAC contributed $1 million to the aforementioned Empower Parents Florida committee, that is headed up by Speaker Renner.

Both of these political action committees were set up to “in the event of dissolution, be able to fund super PACs like the Never Back Down PAC, and to contribute to candidates, political committees, party committees, and other political organizations exempt under IRC Section 527.”

It is important to note that both Speaker Renner and Sen. Ingoglia were instrumental in helping pass the “Resign to Run” legislative amendment that allowed DeSantis to run for president in 2024 while still being able to retain his position as Governor.

Renner’s legislative office told The Floridian that they were not aware of Renner’s Empower Parents Florida committee having received the $1 million from the Empower Parents PAC (Friends of Ron DeSantis).

Will Renner's new Empower Parents Florida PAC raise money in the name of parental rights, but then transfer the funds over to another DeSantis-supporting Super PAC?

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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist and Publisher of Floridianpress.com, Hispolitica.com, shark-tank.com, and Texaspolitics.com He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Follow on Twitter: @JavManjarres Email him at Diversenewmedia@gmail.com

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