Gaetz Funneled $100K To Christie's Dubious Pro-Trump ’Nonprofit’
In December 2019, when then-President Donald Trump was facing his first of two impeachments, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie launched the nonprofit Right Direction America to defend him. The 2022 campaign of far-right Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a hardcore Trumpista, donated $100,000 to the nonprofit earlier this year during Trump's second impeachment — and journalist Roger Sollenberger, in an article published by the Daily Beast, stresses that the donation raises some questions.
"While that donation may not sound out of the ordinary, it stands out for a number of reasons," Sollenberger reports. "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 campaign's own explanation — which experts say raises questions of legality."
According to Sollenberger, the Gaetz campaign's stated reason for donating to Right Direction America differs from the mission of Christie's nonprofit.
"Christie billed the group as a vehicle to drum up public support for Trump during his first impeachment trial in the Senate," Sollenberger explains. "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."
Sollenberger notes that "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," Sollenberger reports. "For someone who's so strongly backing Sanders that he would make a $100,000 donation to a group purportedly in support of her, there's strangely no record of any direct donations to the Sanders campaign from the Gaetz campaign, nor from the beleaguered congressman himself — unlike with DeSantis. The campaign did not reply when presented with that information."
Robert Maguire, director of research for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, discussed Right Direction America with the Beast and said that public information "does raise the question of how legit this nonprofit organization is."
Maguire told the Beast, "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? How are they validating their nonprofit status?"
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