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Tipsheet

There's Something Very Wrong About the Headline in Reuters' Hit Piece on DeSantis

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

In 2016, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who was running for president, came under attack for having 17 traffic tickets and a speedboat. The speedboat later turned out to be a fishing vessel in what was probably one of the most pathetic attempts by the liberal media to smear a Republican presidential candidate. That was the gold standard of silliness, hall of fame-worthy, but we may have a new inductee in Reuters's latest swipe at Ron DeSantis. 

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Was the Florida Republican accepting millions in bribes, allegedly, from Ukrainians, creating shell companies to funnel cash from shady government access deals, or frolicking with hookers and doing copious amounts of cocaine? No. He had a golf simulator in the governor’s mansion, leading us to another issue: the headline. Talk about a buried lede (via Reuters) [emphasis mine]: 

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After Ron DeSantis, an avid golfer, moved into the Florida governor’s mansion in 2019, workers installed a golf simulator worth tens of thousands of dollars in the private pool cabana so he could practice his game. 

But DeSantis did not pay for the simulator. Neither did the state government. Instead, it was funded by a wealthy donor and prominent businessman, Morteza Hosseini, according to four sources familiar with the matter and state government records. 

The donation, previously undisclosed, was never reported as a gift by DeSantis, the top rival to former President Donald Trump in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Florida mostly allows officials to receive gifts as long as they are disclosed and won’t influence their official work. 

However, the golf simulator transaction appears to have been structured to avoid Florida’s rigorous ethical disclosure requirements, said two governance experts in Florida. A third expert characterized the donation as appropriate under state laws. 

Florida state law requires public officials to file quarterly reports listing all gifts received with a value over $100. But DeSantis has never filed a gift disclosure in his four and half years in office, said Lynn Blais, administrator of the Florida Commission on Ethics. The commission oversees compliance by state officials with government ethics laws. 

[…] 

Hosseini, chief executive of Florida developer ICI Homes Residential Holdings and a close ally of DeSantis, said in a statement that the donation was "entirely permissible under Florida law." 

A spokesperson for DeSantis said: “As with all donations, it was accepted and coordinated by staff and approved by legal counsel. Donations to the residence and grounds have been received over many administrations. It will remain in the state's possession for the use of first families, their guests, and staff as it is now.”

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Translation: it’s not Ron DeSantis’ golf simulator but one for any Floridian governor and their families to use at the residence. What a hilarious whiff. Also, a golf simulator isn’t a slush fund, nor is it anything remotely close to felonious largesse. This hit piece is almost as weak as The New York Times’ swipe at Brett Kavanaugh during his contentious Supreme Court nomination, where, as a young man, it was discovered he threw ice during a bar fight. To quote Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), “Talk about a bombshell.” 

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