Republican Party of Florida chairman Blaise Ingoglia is facing a serious scandal involving mismanagement of state party funds. Ingoglia is running for re-election for chairman Saturday in Orlando against challenger Christian Ziegler.
Ingoglia’s state party re-imbursed the personal charge card of a twentysomething staffer for former Marco Rubio chief of staff and current Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran. Records show that the re-imbursements totaled more than $1.2 million.
The scandal is similar to a different case involving Rubio, who consistently charged the Republican Party of Florida for personal expenses. But this current scandal is more recent, and potentially more damning. Re-imbursements went for lavish steak and lobster dinners, cigars, and expensive hotels in New York City.
Ingoglia’s party spent more than $15,000 on untraceable American Express gift cards in early 2015. I found Ingoglia, a state representative, at the Florida state capitol in Tallahassee to ask him about it. Here’s what happened:
Ingoglia is running against challenger Christian Ziegler, a close friend of key figures from the Donald Trump campaign. Ziegler’s candidacy presents a contrast to Ingoglia, who is closely tied to Rubio but has a contentious relationship with Governor Rick Scott, who is supporting Ziegler.
My efforts to expose Ingoglia’s dealings have come under fire in Florida political circles, with Ingoglia’s camp accusing me of negative campaigning. Though I met with Ziegler (after he announced his candidacy) I am in no way working for him. I am simply trying to expose the scandalous doings of a Florida political machine that rarely gets opposed, and has grown complacent with its power. My efforts to expose this conduct will continue through Saturday’s election and beyond.
Patrick Howley is senior strategist at America First Project, an advocacy group for populist nationalist policy.