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Florida Democrats Call on Ron DeSantis to Disclose Whether Elliott Broidy Lobbied Him to Take Action Against Qatar

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Did GOP Money Man Broidy Enlist DeSantis in His Saudi and UAE-Backed Scheme?

Today, the Florida Democratic Party called on Congressman Ron DeSantis to immediately disclose whether Elliott Broidy lobbied him on issues related Qatar. DeSantis must make clear whether he was involved in Broidy's Saudi and UAE-backed scheme to influence Congress.

"New reports have raised the chilling prospect that Ron DeSantis' outspoken opposition to Qatar was part of a quid-pro-quo with one of his leading donors, Elliott Broidy. DeSantis should immediately disclose whether he had any conversations with Broidy about U.S. policy towards Qatar. Floridians deserve a governor who will stand up for them — not someone who is controlled by DC lobbyists and foreign governments," said FDP spokesperson Kevin Donohoe.

Last night, the Associated Press reported that Broidy — a member of DeSantis' national finance team — "had helped spearhead a secret campaign to influence the White House and Congress, flooding Washington with political donations." Broidy was set to win extremely lucrative contracts from Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. for creating "an anti-Qatar drumbeat in Washington" and lobbying Congress to impose sanctions against Qatar.

AP reports that Broidy worked to influence at least one member of Congress: Congressman Ed Royce of California. But did Broidy also lobby Ron DeSantis?

During the period that Broidy was working with the Saudi and UAE governments, DeSantis was an outspoken critic of the Qatari government. He was one of four Congressional Republicans to sign a letter criticizing UN Ambassador Haley for not acknowledging Qatar funds Hamas. Last November, DeSantis called on the Treasury Department to crack down on terrorist financiers from Qatar. And last December, DeSantis was one of four member of Congress to demand Secretary Tillerson publicize a secret terrorism agreement made with Qatar.

Broidy is a member of DeSantis' national finance team and gave $10,000 to DeSantis in February. Last month, The Wall Street Journal revealed that Broidy had used Michael Cohen to pay $1.6 million in hush money to a Playboy model he had impregnated.

DeSantis's Record of Anti-Qatari Actions

In November 2017, DeSantis Was One of Four Congressional Republicans to Sign a Letter Criticizing Amb. Haley for Not Saying Qatar Funds Hamas. According to Breitbart, "A group of Republican and Democrat lawmakers has joined forces to pen a letter to United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, asking her to clarify what appears to be a major diversion from U.S. policy when she implied that there is a distinction between ‘political' and military leaders of the Hamas terrorist organization. ‘We are writing with deep concern over U.S. policy toward Hamas and your recent statements regarding Qatar-based support for Hamas,' the bipartisan group of legislators wrote to Haley asking her to clarify her statement to the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week. The lawmakers include Representatives Robert Pittinger (R-NC), Bradley Schneider (D-IL), Ted Poe (R-TX), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Ron Bacon (R-NE), and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ)." [Breitbart, 11/20/17]

In November 2017, DeSantis Called on the Treasury Department to Crack Down on Terrorist Financiers From Qatar. According to The Hill, "In a letter addressed to Mnuchin, 19 members of Congress from both parties expressed concern that a joint statement earlier this year from Mnuchin and Qatari officials about cracking down on terrorist financiers did not address Hamas. ‘As state sponsors of terror such as Iran renew their financial support for Hamas, it is critical that the United States isolate and counter Hamas by cutting the terrorist organization at its source,' the lawmakers wrote. Among the lawmakers who signed the letter were Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)." [The Hill, 11/21/17]

In December 2017, DeSantis Was One of Four Congressmen to Demand Secretary Tillerson Publicize a Secret Terrorism Agreement Made With Qatar. According to Newsweek, "The Trump administration's secret agreement with Qatar to fight terrorism must be declassified so that the public can see what the Persian Gulf nation promised—and whether it is holding up its end of the deal, four Republican members of Congress said Wednesday. The July deal was part of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's efforts to broker a truce between Qatar and Saudi Arabia over accusations of funding terrorist groups. But it is unclear what is in the deal. ‘The American people have a right to know what steps Qatar's government is taking to deter Islamic terrorism,' the GOP Representatives—Jim Banks, Ron DeSantis, Scott Perry, and Robert Pittenger—wrote to Tillerson on December 14 in a letter that was only made public Wednesday." [Newsweek, 12/21/17]

In March 2018, DeSantis Called for a Department of Justice Investigation of Al Jazeera, the Qatari-Funded TV Network. According to the Free Beacon, "Congress is pushing forward with an effort to spark a federal investigation into the Al Jazeera, the Qatari-funded propaganda network that recently conducted a secret, months-long spy operation on American Jews in Washington, D.C., according to lawmakers and sources familiar with the effort. A bipartisan team of lawmakers including Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and leading House members such as Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, petitioned the Department of Justice to open an investigation into Al Jazeera to determine if it should have to register as a foreign-controlled agent under U.S. law." [Free Beacon, 3/6/18]