February 6, 2023

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is considering denying big tech donations to his second inauguration next month, according to two Republican strategists involved in the discussions, in a move aimed at stoking longing. Conservative activists taking on Silicon Valley.

Mr. DeSantis, who is weighing a potential challenge to Donald J. Trump’s 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has often blamed companies such as Apple and Google for efforts to slow the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories excessive expansion and restriction of freedom of expression.

While refusing technology donations would be popular with the right, it’s unclear how much money Mr. DeSantis would leave behind. Silicon Valley has not been a major contributor to his two gubernatorial campaigns or his previous three House campaigns, according to campaign finance reports.

Donations raised by Mr. DeSantis’ inaugural team will go to the Florida Republican Party. At his first inauguration, Mr. DeSantis unveiled a partial list of donors — including Disney, the private prison company GEO Group and the Police Benevolent Society — without specifying how much. That’s in stark contrast to his predecessor, Senator Rick Scott, who raised about $6.4 million for the 2011 inaugural governorship and lists the donations on his website, According to the Tampa Bay Times.

A spokesman for DeSantis declined to comment. Two strategists familiar with the proposed move, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the private deliberations, said Mr. DeSantis had yet to make a final decision on the donation.

Florida’s governor has long vowed to crack down on Silicon Valley, including after the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots, when many major platforms banned accounts, including Mr Trump’s, that perpetuated misinformation and conspiracy theories . A month after the unrest, Mr. DeSantis said he would pursue a new law aimed at limiting social media companies’ vetting of political candidates, and he and state Republicans passed such legislation.

But a panel of federal appeals court unanimous rejection of the law. Florida’s law would effectively limit First Amendment protections, wrote Judge Kevin C. Newsom, who was appointed by Mr. Trump to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“With few exceptions, the government cannot tell private individuals or entities what to say or how to say it,” Judge Newsom wrote.

Reducing donations from tech companies to the inauguration would help underscore the sincerity of the governor’s anti-elite, while contrasting with Trump, who announced his candidacy for the presidency last month.

While Mr. Trump has publicly criticized companies including GM and Amazon, he welcomes financial support from all involved. His campaign plans to hold its first big fundraiser next month, a series of private high-dollar fundraisers aimed at helping offset a slump in online donations in the final months of the year.

Mr. Trump has been criticized in recent years primarily for taking money from special interests, in part because he amassed a personal fortune before running for office. But while the former president has always said he can afford to pay for his campaign, he has relied mostly on fundraising.

For his part, Mr. DeSantis has developed close relationships with Republican donors since he first ran for Congress in 2012. In 2016, after new congressional maps removed his home from the House district he represented, Mr. DeSantis rented an apartment In the district, from campaign donors who are executives at defense contractors.

For this year’s re-election campaign, Mr. DeSantis has raised a whopping $200 million, much of it in six- and seven-figure donations from special interest groups. Real estate and airline entrepreneur Robert Bigelow and hedge fund Citadel founder Kenneth Griffin each donated $10 million to Mr. DeSantis.

Unlike federal campaign finance laws, Florida law does not restrict individuals or businesses from donating to state parties or committees. That means that if Mr. DeSantis becomes the federal candidate, next month’s inauguration could be his last chance to hold a major fundraiser for the Florida Republican Party, which is effectively the political arm of the current governor.

On Sunday, Mr. DeSantis met with fundraisers at an event in Miami aimed at thanking major donors, but he upset some. The event was billed as an “intimate dinner and discussion” with Mr. DeSantis and his wife, Kathy DeSantis, but turned into a roughly 20-minute reception attended by the governor, according to two attendees. meeting.

Mr. DeSantis has spent much of the past year expressing his national ambitions, including this week when he Said he would ask the Florida Supreme Court to select a grand jury Investigates a Covid-19 vaccine and criticizes federal legislation protecting same-sex marriage.

“I think they’re using the powers of the federal government in ways that absolutely put religious institutions in a bind,” Mr. DeSantis said. Say In an interview with Fox News, he addressed the same-sex marriage law that President Biden signed into law on Tuesday. “Of course there’s no need to do that.”

This week, Mr. DeSantis leads Mr. Trump in two public opinion polls for the hypothetical 2024 Republican primary.Among Republicans and those leaning to vote Republican, 56 percent said they backed Mr. DeSantis, compared with 33 percent for Mr. Trump, according to USA TODAY/Suffolk University data polling. Wall Street Journal Poll show Florida’s governor leads 52 percent to 38 percent.

Mr. DeSantis plans to offer exclusive access to his largest donors during the inaugural event on Jan. 2 and after his swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 3, according to a copy of the event calendar reviewed by The New York Times.

For donors who donate $1 million, Mr. DeSantis will provide 10 tickets, including a candlelit dinner on the eve of the inauguration, VIP seating at the inauguration and the inaugural ball that night.

Those donors will also receive a photo with the governor, be named the “Inaugural President” at the inaugural ball program and receive two tickets to “Cheers to Millionaire Mom,” which honors DeSantis An event organized by a campaign group convened by Ms.

Patricia Mazzie with Maggie Haberman Contribution report.

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