The Florida Attorney General asked law enforcement officials on Wednesday to investigate recent fundraising efforts by billionaire and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to repay court fees and other fines so that felonies can vote. Well-known figures including NBA superstar LeBron James also strongly supported this work.
The basis of the investigation is not clear, but it was the day after Bloomberg announced that he had raised $1
“After an initial review of limited public information and laws, it seems necessary to conduct further investigation. Therefore, I ask your agency to further investigate the matter and take the appropriate steps due to it,” she said in a brief letter.
A Bloomberg spokesperson said the letter was for political purposes. The spokesperson said: “This transparent political approach is just the latest example of Republicans trying to deprive Floridans of the right to vote.” Congressman Matt Gaetz, a Republican of Florida and Trump ally, also called for it on Tuesday. survey.
After the Florida Republicans enacted the 2019 law, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) launched the campaign, which requires anyone convicted of a felony to repay the fines and expenses of their sentence before they can vote again. The Republicans passed the law. Prior to this, Florida voters passed an overwhelming majority of the decision to abolish the life-long ban on felons. This move is estimated to expand voting rights to as many as 1.4 million people. This is a vote in American history One of the biggest extensions of power. The Republican law effectively promoted this reform: an estimated 774,000 people were unable to vote because they owed money.
FRRC will not ask someone about their party affiliation when applying for financial assistance. Organizers told the Associated Press and The Washington Post that this effort was not aimed at voters of a particular party.
Desmond Meade, the executive director of the organization, said: “In the face of politics, in the face of any other hints or hints, it ultimately concerns the real people, real life, and American citizens who want to participate in it,” AP This week.
Mead told the Washington Post: “Different people may pay for different reasons, but we do this for one reason, and that is because of putting people above politics.” We care about people from all walks of life and all political fields.”
Pamela Karlan, a professor at Stanford University School of Law, said the federal regulations cited by Moody’s in the letter are rarely used.
She said: “This is not to say that an avid prosecutor is keen to suppress the voting rights of returning citizens. They will not try to chase funders, or even pursue citizens who have paid fees and then tried to vote.” “But we should use the government. The idea of resources to make it more difficult for people to vote is really offensive.”
Franita Tolson, a law professor at the University of Southern California, pointed out that Florida lawyers said in court that asking people to repay fines and fees does not amount to a poll tax. She said in an email that her opposition to letting others pay fines and fees undermines this argument.
She said: “Throughout the litigation, there is a cognitive disagreement between the state’s arguments, that is, the statute that requires all fines and fees to be paid before voting is not a poll tax, and the current position is that Bloomberg’s decision on these fines and fees Payment represents a way to vote to buy,” said. “This is either a poll tax or it cannot be a poll tax.”
The American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Julie Ebenstein (Julie Ebenstein) said that Moody’s letter implies that Florida may prefer to create voting barriers rather than recover outstanding debt, which poses a challenge to the 2019 law.
Florida has an unconstitutional system that prohibits people from voting until their debts are paid off. Now, the country is opposed to repaying these debts. The state seems to intend to block voting, not to collect money. “she says.
Spokesperson Andrea Aprea said that the FBI has not received an official copy of Moody’s letter. Florida law enforcement did not respond to a request for comment.