The Andrew Gillum campaign continues to implode, now with reports that he failed to disclose $4,386 of an “in kind contribution” made by an undercover FBI agent who had been investigating the campaign. Campaign finance laws require all candidates to report all campaign contributions and expenditures to be listed with the state disclosure portal. While there’s usually a 30 day window to file these reports, the FBI agent’s contribution is from 2016.
An undercover FBI agent posing as an Atlanta developer seeking to do business with the city of Tallahassee was billed for food and drinks for a 2016 fundraiser for Mayor Andrew Gillum’s nascent political action committee, documents released Friday show.
The Forward Florida PAC would eventually become the war chest for Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign. It is the first piece of evidence linking an ongoing FBI probe to Gillum’s broader campaign for statewide office.
The emails and receipts released Friday as part of a supplemental records request from the Florida Commission on Ethics show that the agent, Mike Miller, was invoiced $4,386 by 101 Restaurant and Mint Lounge, a restaurant owned by lobbyist Adam Corey at the time. An email exchange shows that Miller paid the bill and that Gillum sent him a personal thank you note for the food.
The Ethics Commission initially subpoenaed records of Corey’s travel that included the mayor, producing 150 pages of documents that included text messages confirming that Gillum attended the Broadway hit “Hamilton” while in New York in August 2016 and that Miller provided the tickets.
The invoice — billed to “Forward Florida Honoring Andrew Gillum” — described a dinner for 40 guests of filet mignon, twice-baked sweet potatoes, salmon mousse canapes, broccoli and carrots, and southern style strawberry shortcake for $2,800. The bar tab was $1,200 for beer, wine and liquor.
Adding a 20 percent service charge and sales tax brought the bill to $5,160, but an owner’s discount brought the remaining balance due to $4,386.
This took place before Gillum was running for governor, when he was merely the mayor of Tallahassee. That’s another layer of troubl, as The Orlando Sentinel adds:
The information was released by Christopher Kise, a lawyer representing Corey, in response to a request earlier this week from the state’s ethics commission. The commission is investigating whether Gillum accepted gifts from lobbyists after a Tallahassee businessman and persistent critic of Gillum filed a complaint. Florida law bars local elected officials from accepting anything worth more than $100. Kise was once Florida’s solicitor general and served on the transition team of Republican Gov. Rick Scott when Scott won in 2010.
Gillum has denied any wrongdoing in the case, which involves some of the same people whose names have surfaced in an ongoing FBI investigation into city government.
Corey helped arrange meetings with Gillum on behalf of the undercover agent, but his lawyer has declined to answer questions on whether Corey was working in tandem with the FBI.
It’s not clear if the undercover agent paid the invoice for the reception that Corey hosted at his house on behalf of Gillum’s committee. Campaign finance records filed by the committee do not appear to show any contributions or in-kind donations to cover the event expenses. It is against Florida law for political committee to accept donations without reporting them.
The entire 80+ pages from the investigation can be found on Document Cloud: