Val Deming’s Shady Luxury Office Space Deal with Campaign Donor
Representative Val Demings, D-Fl., running for Senate against incumbent Marco Rubio, R-Fl., allegedly rented lucrative office space from a campaign donor using taxpayer dollars.
Julia Johnson, a political operative working on behalf of utility and telecommunications companies, has donated thousands of dollars to Deming election campaigns over her three terms in Congress.
Demings office pays “2295 S Hiawassee LLC”, which belongs to Johnson, $5,319.75 a month for “district office rent.”
In 2016, "a political operative and loyal Val Demings campaign donor purchased a pair of office suites for $500,000. Within days, Demings began paying that donor taxpayer funds to rent the suites—payments that now total hundreds of thousands of dollars."https://t.co/3QRxNeyQns
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 6, 2022
The House Ethics rules concerning office leases for Representatives say that all agreements must be “entered into … as the result of a bona fide, arms-length, marketplace transaction” between two sides that “are not relatives nor have had, or continue to have a professional or legal relationship.”
Pretty darn brazen:
A Val Demings donor bought a $500k office space a few weeks after she was first elected in 2016, started renting it out to Demings five days later.
Has now received about $300k thru Demings, all on back of taxpayers.https://t.co/mAL6kYkdQv
— Brent Scher (@BrentScher) October 6, 2022
Johnson played a key role in a bribery scandal in the Ohio House of Representatives that led to the ouster of former Speaker Larry Householder. She was the chair of the “Corporate Governance and Corporate Responsibility” committee, which oversees the company’s political advocacy and donations.
Householder was later indicted along with multiple lobbyists and political strategists over the bribery scandal; his trial has not yet occurred.
This is not the first time Demings has been accused of violating House Ethics Rules.
In April, Demings joined a House Judiciary Committee call remotely so she could also participate in a campaign call with the Duval caucus.
“Of course, I’ve been looking so forward to being with the Duval Caucus, and here I am stuck in a markup in Judiciary, so I apologize for the background noise, but of course, I am also listening to the hearing there, so I know when it is time for me to vote,” Demings said during the virtual campaign event.
House rules state that members should separate their campaign business from their business as U.S Representatives.
Demings has previously accused Marco Rubio of giving oil companies “billions of dollars” in taxpayer money while also saying that she fights for ordinary Floridians and Rubio “fights for his donors.”
Marco Rubio says he doesn’t know what holding oil companies accountable means — maybe because he fought to give them billions in tax giveaways.
Rubio fights for his donors, I’m fighting for working Floridians.https://t.co/vrlyZLiht4
— Val Demings (@valdemings) April 27, 2022
According to a RealClearPolitics polling average, Rubio is leading Demings in the upcoming Senate race by an average of 4 percent.
The two most recent polls show Rubio leading by a wider margin, with a Mason Dixon poll conducted in late September showing Rubio ahead by 7 percent and a Spectrum/Siena poll conducted in the third week of September showing him ahead by 6 percent.
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