Politics

Last Call for 4.27.22 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

The Ingraham Angle is coming to Orlando on Thursday for a town hall with Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The special edition is titled “The Ingraham Angle Town Hall: Florida and the American Comeback” and will cover a range of topics that have made national headlines in recent weeks.

According to a news release, the substance will largely focus on the controversial parental rights legislation — dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by critics — and the fallout since DeSantis signed it into law.

That includes recent legislation targeting the tourism behemoth down the street from the filming location. Fox News framed that portion of the discussion as “freedom for business owners,” though it did say the dissolution of Reedy Creek will get some airtime.

Others will take the stage alongside DeSantis, though Fox didn’t indicate who, simply saying that host Laura Ingraham “will moderate a panel of lawmakers and experts.”

Throughout the forum, the guests will also take questions from a live audience. The town hall airs at 10 p.m. Thursday on Fox News.

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Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Wednesday praised her department’s law enforcement team and federal prosecutors after Brian Kolfage pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns uncovered during an investigation into a Florida-based charity.

A federal grand jury for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida indicted Kolfage on the tax charge last year. The indictment followed separate charges filed in New York related to other aspects of “We Build the Wall,” a charity he co-founded purportedly to raise money to privately build the Mexico border wall sought by former President Donald Trump.

The first wave of charges alleged he and others bilked hundreds of thousands of dollars from eager donors hoping to support Trump’s wall, because much of the money went into the organization’s leaders’ personal bank accounts. The federal charges originating in Florida alleged he defrauded the government by hiding his income from the charity on his tax returns.

Kolfage’s guilty plea can be credited in part to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which opened an investigation into the charity three years ago. After looking into the charity, department investigators referred the case to the FBI.

“As Florida’s consumer protection agency and charity regulator, we take accusations of fraud and charity abuse very seriously. We’re grateful to the U.S. Department of Justice and the federal and state partners who helped investigate this case, including FDACS’ Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement,” Fried said. “I hope this guilty plea sends a strong message that anyone who attempts to defraud the people of Florida will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Evening Reads

Democrats worry Florida slipping out of reach as national donors shy away” via Alex Roarty and Bianca Padró Ocasio of the Miami Herald

Groups ask court to block new Florida congressional map” via Gary Fineout of POLITICO Florida

Judicial candidates placing big antes, gambling that challengers will fold” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

FLDOE accepts second K-5 math publisher after slate of rejections” via Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO Florida

Reedy Creek supervisors meet amid uncertain future for Disney-run district” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel

Black farmers line up for medical marijuana license, but wait continues” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics

Twitter abuse victims fear Elon Musk’s plans, but may not quit” via Josh Funk of The Associated Press

There’s no scenario in which 2050 is ‘normal’” via Robinson Meyer of The Atlantic

Charlie Crist relies heavily on pandemic proxy voting rule as he runs for Governor” via Bryan Lowry of the Miami Herald

‘A Governor for all her constituents’: South Miami Mayor, Commissioners endorse Annette Taddeo” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics

Cord Byrd returns to Twitter after post-Jan. 6 departure” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Quote of the Day

“He is clearly, as I like to say, often more focused on Iowa voters than he is Florida people and Florida children in school. That’s just inexcusable.”

— U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, criticizing DeSantis over the Department of Education’s list of banned textbooks.

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