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Matt Gaetz In Another Pickle After Fumbling Explanation For Mysterious $100K Donation To Dubious Entity

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Matt Gaetz

Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is reportedly under federal investigation for alleged sex crimes with an underage teen, appears to be in another pickle after making a $100,000 donation —his largest ever political contribution— to a dubious nonprofit created to supposedly defend Donald Trump.

“While that donation may not sound out of the ordinary, it stands out for a number of reasons,” The Daily Beast noted. “For one, the size of the donation is curious: It’s double the amount of Gaetz’s second-largest donation ever, and it’s $22,000 more than the campaign’s combined gifts to close ally Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). For another, the nonprofit appears to have done nothing now for more than a year. And even odder is the Gaetz’s own explanation—which experts say raises questions of legality.”

FROM THE BEAST: The group, “Right Direction America,” is a nonprofit launched in December 2019 by Trump ally and former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) as a 501(c)4—a so-called “dark money” social welfare organization which doesn’t have to disclose its donors but cannot participate primarily in political activity. Christie billed the group as a vehicle to drum up public support for Trump during his first impeachment trial in the Senate.

But that’s not why the Gaetz campaign says it donated to Right Direction America. A campaign spokesperson told The Daily Beast that the organization supports former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who two weeks prior to the Gaetz donation had announced her 2022 campaign for governor of Arkansas.

“We support the mission of Right Direction America,” the spokesperson said.

However, there’s no public record of RDA supporting Sanders for governor, and there isn’t activity of any kind since August 2020. According to the Federal Election Commission’s database, RDA has received money from no political group other than the Gaetz campaign.

Caleb Burns, a partner at Wiley Rein who specializes in campaign finance and nonprofit law, told The Beast that the donation and the group’s activities raise some questions.

Another law expert, Robert Maguire, director of research at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told the publication that the information in the public record “does raise the question of how legit this nonprofit organization is.”

“When you see a webpage like that, that has nothing—no press clips, no projects, no events, no contact information, no address, nothing to identify it as a group with an office where people go to work, or produce actual work—the first question is what do they exist to do?” Maguire told The Daily Beast. “How are they validating their nonprofit status?”

Read the entire report at The Daily Beast.