AP by Gary Fineout
September 5, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, in an effort to answer lingering questions about trips he took that are being investigated by the state’s ethics commission, released receipts on Monday that he says show he paid for his travel.
Gillum, who last week won the Democratic primary for Florida governor, met Tuesday with investigators from Florida’s ethics commission to discuss the trips to Costa Rica and New York City. The commission inquiry is separate from an ongoing FBI investigation into city government, but there are links between the two.
In a statement, Gillum maintained he was being open and repeated his promise to cooperate with the FBI. He knocked his Republican opponent Ron DeSantis for being a critic of the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s interference in U.S. elections and whether President Donald Trump or his close allies colluded with Russia.
“The FBI has a job to do — and whether it’s Washington, D.C., or Florida, Congressman DeSantis and President Trump should allow the agency to do its work,” said Gillum. “Here in Florida, we’ve done everything we can to aid the agency, while Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump have done the exact opposite — demonizing the FBI and making the case that collusion is not a crime.”
But the disclosures released by the Gillum campaign do not include all expenses related to the two trips that Gillum took in 2016 before the FBI probe became public. A Tallahassee businessman filed an ethics complaint once the trips were revealed.
Stephen Lawson, a spokesman for DeSantis, said that “these receipts do nothing to shed light on his luxury trips to Costa Rica and New York City with lobbyists and undercover FBI agents. In fact, they simply raise more questions about Gillum’s ongoing involvement. The people of Florida deserve answers, and Andrew Gillum keeps refusing to provide them.”
Gillum has said he has talked to the FBI and that he is not the target of an investigation. The first open knowledge of the probe came in June 2017 when a federal grand jury subpoenaed five years of records from Tallahassee and a local redevelopment agency that involved high-profile projects and developers, including an ally of Gillum. The FBI earlier this year asked for more records, dealing primarily with an upscale restaurant that is located in a city-owned building. The Edison received $2 million in financial assistance from the city and the local community redevelopment agency.