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Ron DeSantis Accused of Campaign Finance Violation; Dark Money & Foreign Influence Lobbying w/ Taylor Giorno – Parallax Views

On this edition of Parallax Views, Taylor Giorno, an OpenSecrets reporters specializing in money-in-politics issues such as campaign finance, lobbying, and foreign influence operations, returns to discuss the Campaign Legal Center’s allegations that Ron DeSantis, who recently made his bid for the Republican Party candidate in the 2024 Presidential Election, has engaged in a “soft money” campaign finance violation. The Campaign Legal Center has gone so far as to file a complaint with the Federal Election Committee. Taylor explains the ins-and-outs of this story, the complexities of it, and money-in-politics more generally as well as the deregulation of campaign finance oversight. Taylor and I also discuss some of her other areas of interest, specifically development in the NSO Group/Pegasus spyware story, dark money, and foreign influence lobbying. We even manage to discuss the top 10 foreign influence lobbying operations in the U.S. as documented at OpenSecrets.

Other topics covered include:

– DeSantis accused of transferring money from an old Florida state PAC into the pro-DeSantis Super PAC Never Back Down; the Campaign Legal Center argues this is an illegal violation of campaign finance rules; some discussion of Trump and DeSantis in relation to campaign finance; are the accusations against DeSantis unprecedented?; campaign finance violations is not a partisan affair (it happens within both parties)

– The dark money group One Nation and its funneling of millions of dollars into elections

– Dark Money and the Koch Brothers; how dark money has evolved past the Koch Brothers and there are new and different dark money players

– Sam Banman-Fried, the collapse of FTX, the crypto-currency industry and its lobbying, and money-in-politics

– The explosion of money-in-politics since 2010; the Supreme Court, Citizens United, and corporate personhood

– The Israeli cyber-intelligence firm NSO Group and the Pegasus spyware scandal; NSO Group spending millions of dollars in lobbying efforts

– The case of Ben Swann, a former local FOX and CBS-affiliates TV news anchor who peddled Pizzagate stories and has since become a libertarian media personality; In FARA filings it has been discovered that Swann was the recipient of millions of dollars in money from Russia

– The defense contractor/defense sector money being funneled to Congress since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia; the defense industry’s line on inflation; defense industry lobbying

OpenSecrets’s Foreign Lobby Watch; Top ten countries involved in foreign lobbying include China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Israel, Russia, and others; Drone manufacturer Barzan Holdings and arms exports to Qatar; pro-Israel lobbying

– And much, much more