After months of controversy regarding voter fraud allegations related to former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg during the 2020 presidential election, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) ended its investigation of a $16 million donation made by Bloomberg to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) in September 2020.
The investigation was requested by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody along with other elected officials in Florida to expose what they thought was an illegal attempt to persuade people whose voting rights were restored through the FRRC to vote Democrat in the presidential election.
According to Section 104.061 of the Florida Statutes, “No person shall directly or indirectly give or promise anything of value to another intending thereby to buy that person’s or another’s vote or to corruptly influence that person or another in casting his or her vote.”
Investigators spent more than 700 hours analyzing and looking over more than 7,000 documents pertaining to the FRRC and court clerk offices regarding the court debts and fees that were allegedly paid for with Bloomberg’s donation. Along with these documents, investigators interviewed over 100 people whose fines were paid by the FRRC.
After reviewing the data, FDLE could not conclude that Bloomberg violated any election laws in Florida and that there was zero evidence supporting the allegations of the FRRC persuading individuals to vote towards a specific party in order to pay for outstanding court fees.
In 2018, Florida voters passed Amendment 4 allowing felons with non-violent crimes the ability to vote after completing their sentences. A year later, Governor DeSantis signed a bill that required them to pay off any court debt before being able to restore their right to vote. According to 8 On Your Side, in the fall of 2020, there were about 750,000 former felons in Florida who are not able to vote because of court fees and fines.
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Casey Owens is a writer at The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Mike Bloomberg” by Mike Bloomberg.