TALLAHASSEE, FL – According to Congressman Matt Gaetz, Ashley Moody, the Attorney General of Florida, is looking into former NYC mayor and failed presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s offer to pay the fines incurred by convicted felons in the state of Florida so that they can vote in upcoming elections.
Bloomberg has pledged as much as $16 million to pay court fines and fees of Florida felons – of whom there are approximately 1 million – many of them Black and Hispanic individuals that the billionaire claims have faced severe obstacles in order to regain their voting rights.
Shortly before the request to the FBI was issued by Moody, House Judiciary Committee member Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) noted in a recent interview that he had talked with the Florida AG regarding the possibility of an election bribery probe into Bloomberg.
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“It’s a third-degree felony for someone to either directly or indirectly provide something of value to impact whether or not someone votes,” he said. “So the question is whether or not paying off someone’s fines and legal obligations counts as something of value, and it clearly does.”
Previously, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation into law that declared that felons are unable to vote in elections unless they have repaid all of their legal financial debts – such as fines and restitution – before their right to vote will be restored to them after serving their prison sentence. Bloomberg argues that this law unfairly targets minorities, many of whom are unable to afford to pay the amounts of money owed.
Bloomberg has expressed, via a memo reported by the Washington Post, that he hopes this action on his part will allow felons in Florida to vote in the upcoming November elections, and, as a result, drive up potential votes for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“We know to win Florida we will need to persuade, motivate and add new votes to the Biden column,” Bloomberg said. “This means we need to explore all avenues for finding the needed votes when so many votes are already determined.”