DeSantis campaign, super PAC hit with watchdog group complaint

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign and the super PAC supporting him, Never Back Down, were the subject of a complaint filed Monday by the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit watchdog group, which alleged coordination between the two entities in violation of federal election laws.

“Never PAC has for months coordinated its activities with and made in-kind contributions to DeSantis and his campaign committee, contravening the explicit legal requirement that super PACs must remain ‘independent’ of—i.e., not coordinate with or make contributions to—federal candidates or their campaigns,” the complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission stated.

The complaint follows a litany of reporting on the recent upheaval at Never Back Down, most recently with the departure of its chief operative, Jeff Roe.

Never Back Down Chairman Scott Wagner said in a statement that the super PAC “fully complies with the law, and will continue to do so as we work to help elect Gov. DeSantis our next President.”

“The Campaign Legal Center has a partisan agenda against Ron DeSantis and their allegations — based on anonymous sources in reporting — are completely false,” he added.

DeSantis campaign spokesman Andrew Romeo also dismissed the complaint.

“This baseless complaint is just another example of how the Left is terrified of Ron DeSantis and will stoop to anything to stop him. The FEC has made clear they won’t take action based upon unverified rumors and innuendo, and that’s the false information this politically motivated complaint is based on. The Left has tried to stop DeSantis in the past and failed, and they will fail again this time,” Romeo said in a statement.

Asked Tuesday about the complaint during a campaign stop in Iowa, DeSantis responded: “I mean, give me a break. Trust me. I have no doubt. There’s a lot of things that happened that I wish I had control over.”

The super PAC is heavily invested in DeSantis’ Iowa ground game, which the candidate has held up as a top weapon in his arsenal to compete in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. 

On Monday, Never Back Down “hosted” DeSantis’ events in the state. At one of the stops, DeSantis was asked about Roe’s recent departure.

“It’s a separate entity. And so it’s just, this stuff just happens,” DeSantis said. “And it’s not in my purview.”