According to a new report, the Democrat nominee for Senate in Florida, Val Demings rented two apartments from a top donor to her campaign using taxpayer funds in what appears to be a case of flagrant corruption.
In December 2016, a political operator and Val Demings campaign supporter paid $500,000 for a pair of office spaces.
Demings began paying the donor public monies to rent the suites within days, payments that have already totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars.
According to campaign finance filings, Julia Johnson contributed thousands of dollars to the Democrat’s victorious 2016 congressional campaign.
On December 29, 2016, only weeks after Demings’ victory, Johnson paid $500,000 for two apartments in an Orlando commercial complex.
Demings’ official office then began paying Johnson’s LLC more than $5,300 per month for the two apartments within days.
Since then, Demings’ office has paid Johnson roughly $320,000 in total since 2017.
Demings’ agreement with Johnson may possibly be in violation of House ethics rules, which require district office leases to be approved and that the two parties “are not relatives nor have had, or continue to have, a professional or legal relationship.”
Johnson was previously involved in a high-profile bribery incident as a FirstEnergy board member, in addition to being Demings’ campaign supporter and landlord.
During Johnson’s tenure on the board of the company, the energy business paid around $60 million to a charity entity run by former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, who then sponsored legislation to bail out numerous insolvent FirstEnergy units.
Those payments were made between March 2017 and March 2020—Johnson joined FirstEnergy’s board of directors in 2011 and later became the chair of its “Corporate Governance and Corporate Responsibility” committee.
Johnson was forced to resign from the board of the company this year as a result of a bribery settlement deal.
Demings, who is running against Republican incumbent Marco Rubio in this fall’s midterm elections, managed to raise $48 million dollars according to data from August 3rd.