State law enforcement officials continue to review Attorney General Ashley Moody’s request to investigate former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for helping Florida felons pay outstanding legal costs so they could register to vote in this year's general election.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement review is the first step toward a potential investigation that Moody, at the behest of Gov. Ron DeSantis, requested on Sept. 23 into Bloomberg raising at least $16 million for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.
Bloomberg has vowed to pump more than $100 million into Florida to assist Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential bid, and Moody contends the assistance to the coalition could be a violation of laws against offering incentives to people or groups in exchange for voting in a particular manner.
“Every case is unique, but in general, we look at documents and information to determine if the complaint is within the purview of FDLE and if it is actionable by FDLE,” Gretl Plessinger, an FDLE spokeswoman, said in an email Monday. “It’s not an investigation at this point, but it could become one. It just depends on what the agents find.” Plessinger said there is no timeline on the investigation.
Monday marked the final day Floridians could register to vote in the November election.
Moody made a similar request for an investigation to the Tampa office of the FBI. WFSU Radio in Tallahassee reported Monday the FBI declined to comment if an investigation had been opened.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, a Republican like DeSantis and Moody, on Sept. 23 also asked the Florida Elections Commission to determine if Bloomberg’s contribution to the coalition was trying to illegally influence the outcome of the election. The commission deems investigations confidential and on Monday couldn’t confirm if a probe had started.
The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition has collected more than $20 million for a “Fines and Fees” fund established in response to a state law and a recent court ruling requiring felons to pay “legal financial obligations” — fees, fines, costs and restitution — to be eligible to vote.
Democrats have labeled the investigation requests political theater.
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