Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody asked law enforcement Wednesday to investigate a voting rights group backed by Mike Bloomberg that could restore the franchise to thousands of former felons by paying their fines and legal fees.
Bloomberg, with Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, raised over $16 million to pay the fees of nearly 32,000 former felons, according to NBC. The money will go to people with fees of $1,500 or less and are already registered to vote.
“Today, I sent a letter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation into potential violations of election laws,” Moody said in a statement Wednesday, per NBC. “And I have instructed the Statewide Prosecutor to work with law enforcement and any Statewide Grand Jury that the Governor may call.”
Florida’s top 3 Republicans —Gov DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, and CFO Jimmy Patronis — are asking for outside investigations into billionaire Mike Bloomberg helping to raise at least $16M to pay off felon fines/fees/etc so they can vote.
AG wants FDLE & FBI in… pic.twitter.com/4QfeLMUazQ
— Greg Angel (@NewsGuyGreg) September 23, 2020
Moody’s letter does not directly ask authorities to investigate Bloomberg’s involvement with the group, but she referenced a Washington Post article about his contributions to the effort, per the report.
Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz on Tuesday called on Moody to investigate Bloomberg’s involvement in the effort. (RELATED: Rep. Matt Gaetz Alleges Bloomberg Is Buying Votes Of Convicted Felons)
“I will be calling the Florida attorney general to launch an investigation into Mike Bloomberg for potentially engaging in bribery and vote buying in the state of Florida,” the congressman said in an interview with Fox’s Lou Dobbs.
“Mike Bloomberg … is creating a politically motivated way to retire the debts of these felons in exchange for their votes and it’s not every felon. It’s just those which they’ve specifically identified as the Biden voters,” Gaetz added in the interview.
A 6-4 ruling on Sept. 11 from the panel of 10 judges on a federal appeals court reversed a lower-court ruling that granted voting eligibility to Florida felons despite any remaining expenses. The court ruled that repayment was an equal part of a sentence and was not comparable to a poll tax. (RELATED: Bloomberg Raises Millions To Fight Florida Voting Law, Helps Pay Former Felons Legal Fees)
“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right. Working together with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, we are determined to end disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it,” Bloomberg said in a statement on Tuesday after the initiative was announced.
Bloomberg had already dumped $100 million into the presidential race in Florida earlier this month.
Florida polling shows a tight race in battleground Florida, with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by 1.3%, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average.