A phony “charity” that has been collecting donations for Hurricane Ian victims has been exposed as a shill to raise money for Democrat politicians in Florida, according to reports.
The scam was revealed by DeSantis War Room, a group that advocates for Florida’s Republican incumbent Gov. Ron Desantis.
An investigation revealed that the website IanResponse.org has been funneling all of its donations into the election campaigns of Democratic politicians in Florida.
Those Democrats that benefitted from the scam include gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, Rep. Val Demings, who is challenging GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, and others.
In a tweet on Thursday, DeSantis War Room highlighted a media report that a group called Florida for All had purchased more than $100,000 in ads to attack DeSantis and other GOP candidates.
Florida for All is financially backed by a left-wing group called Florida Rising, according to DeSantis War Room.
2 weeks ago: Progressive dark-money group Florida Rising solicits donations for "rebuilding and recovery after #HurricaneIan," funds go through ActBlue
Today: "Florida for All," which is funded by Florida Rising, announces a "six-figure ad buy" attacking @RonDeSantisFL pic.twitter.com/d3i8ZK2T8T
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 #FloridaStrong (@DeSantisWarRoom) October 13, 2022
DeSantis War Room described Florida Rising as a “far-left revolutionary syndicate dedicated to demonizing law enforcement, defunding police, promoting ‘safe’ drug abuse & threatening political violence.
“They endorsed @CharlieCrist… like [President Joe] Biden, he is a puppet for radicals.”
The account also noted that Florida Rising was recently condemned for its “anti-police” rhetoric by 30 Florida sheriffs.
Republican Sheriffs Bob Gualtieri of Pinellas County, Chris Nocco of Pasco County, Kurt Hoffman of Sarasota County, and Peyton Grinnell of Lake County have all called out the organization.
However, the real scandal emerged when the phony charity scam was exposed.
DeSantis War Room pointed to research by the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee that shows donations to something called the Florida Ian Response Fund — or IanResponse.org.
Donations made to Florida Ian Response Fund went instead to ActBlue, a website that aggregates contributions for Democratic candidates.
The site began raising money on Sept. 29, even as Ian had weakened to a tropical storm and was headed out of the state.
The GOP Senate committee noted that searching for Florida Ian Response Fund in the Check-A-Charity database managed by the state Agriculture and Consumer Services Department yielded no results.
In addition, the Republican Senate group noted, “Florida Ian Response Fund is ‘not tax deductible’ and that it is actually housed at ‘Organize Action,’ a 501(c)4 tax-exempt dark money organization.”
Money given to true charities would be able to be claimed as tax-exempt contributions.
The suggestion is that Florida Ian Response Fund is a veiled disguise to raise money for Florida Rising.
“As Floridians continue to rebuild and recover, we strongly urge those who want to help to give to reputable organizations positioned to help people, not political organizations using this money ‘to win elections and change laws,’” the Republican Senate committee said in a statement.
DeSantis War Room added on Twitter “DISGUSTING: After Hurricane Ian made landfall, Democrat anti-police group Florida Rising began fundraising off of the catastrophic storm.
“They pushed donors to ianresponse.org, claiming to be ‘for rebuilding & recovery after #HurricaneIan’ BUT donations went to ActBlue!”
“’Ianresponse.org’ is NOT a registered charity,” DeSantis War Room added.
“It’s a left-wing dark money activist fund.”
“Scamming people who want to help hurricane victims = the lowest of the low,” the account continued.
“@CharlieCrist should disavow Florida Rising, who endorsed him.”