Politico ran cover for North Carolina Senator Richard Burr in their POLITICO Playbook newsletter by attacking Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz.
In the newsletter it claimed that “Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz has spent nearly $200,000 in taxpayer funds renting an office from a longtime friend, adviser, campaign donor and legal client.”
The newsletter added:
Both men said in separate interviews Gaetz paid below market rent for the space — although Gaetz later shifted, saying the rent was ‘at or below market rate.’ House rules explicitly state such arrangements are not allowed. … On top of being [Collier] Merrill’s tenant, Gaetz attended fundraisers at Merrill’s restaurants, sought his counsel on policy matters and tapped him as a validator for his work in Washington.
Gaetz allegedly paid more than $184,00 to Collier Merill’ Empire Partners LLC to rent the entire sixth-floor in the Seville Tower. According to the House’s spending records, Gaetz rented from Merill since he arrived in Congress in 2016.
Politico noted this:
Gaetz … has paid more than $184,000 to Merrill’s Empire Partners LLC to rent the entire sixth-floor in the Seville Tower, a historic building in downtown Pensacola, according to House disbursement records. Gaetz has rented from Merrill since he got to Congress in 2017.
According to House rules, leases for district offices have to be at fair market value.
House rules state that all leases for district offices must be ‘at fair market value as the result of a bona fide, arms-length, marketplace transaction. The Lessor and Lessee certify that the parties are not relatives nor have had, or continue to have, a professional or legal relationship (except as a landlord and tenant).
Gaetz allegedly approached Merrill about renting space from his building.
Merrill said in an interview that Gaetz approached him saying he wanted to rent space in his building. Merrill then dispatched his leasing director to give Gaetz’s staff a ‘range to see what they can get’ and the private negotiation yielded a price in the middle. … ‘I love the idea of … having a state rep, having a congressman — we’re right across from the courthouse,’ Merrill said.
On xxx, 2020, Gaetz took to Twitter to defend himself from Politico’s hit piece.
“Politico shills for Burr.Busts me: (1) having a friend (2) maybe getting a bargain 4 taxpayers (3) allowing donations of gift certificates to art students and (4) introducing legislation to help every restaurant in my district, equally.Over $500k returned to taxpayers! https://twitter.com/politico/status/1251129550249099265.”
Politico shills for Burr.
Busts me: (1) having a friend (2) maybe getting a bargain 4 taxpayers (3) allowing donations of gift certificates to art students and (4) introducing legislation to help every restaurant in my district, equally.
Over $500k returned to taxpayers! https://t.co/cUDyQnCNkx
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) April 17, 2020
This is another case of tepid journalists taking a “penny wise, pound foolish” approach in their coverage of political stories.
When establishment politicians are committing acts of political graft on a much higher scale, the 4th Estate would rather focus on small cases where the entire facts aren’t clear. Senators like Richard Burr have tremendous privilege, unlike most Americans, in having insider information when it comes to selling stocks and raking in big cash. Sadly, only few voices like Tucker Carlson are covering such incidents.
Gaetz should get a chance to defend himself in a just manner without having to be smeared by an increasingly activist media.
Flashback: Ann Coulter Warns Steve Bannon about Donald Trump’s Hires During 2016
Coulter tells it like it is.
Earlier this week, former White House adviser Steve Bannon reached out to President Donald Trump, in an apparent move to reconcile with the president. Bannon was one of the more renowned advisors in the Trump administration who received a lot of attention for his unconventional views. The former White House adviser is likely looking for Trump to pardon him for several federal criminal charges that he is currently facing.
Bannon was one of the strongest contrarian voices on the right who questioned traditional conservative dogma on free trade and immigration. His rise to prominence represented a raw, populist anger that was building within the Republican Party base. Bannon ended up leaving the Trump administration after the infamous Charlottesville rally. This left a massive void for populist voices within the Trump brain trust, which was never adequately filled with populist figures.
Most of the strong populist voices during the Trump era came from the outside. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter has been one of the leading figures trying to steer populist discourse in America.Although a harsh critic, Coulter did her best to hold President Trump accountable and watch his every move, especially personnel decisions that did not align with his America first vision. To the average pro-Trump individual, Coulter’s criticism may come off as abrasive, but it was and still is necessary to have a viable nationalist movement.
As a reminder to her followers about how she knew that there were subversive elements in the Trump administration who wanted to gut the president’s America First agenda and pursue more traditional Republican policies, she tweeted about email correspondence she had with Bannon dating back to December 2, 2016. In light of the rapprochement between Bannon and Trump, Coulter called attention to how she warned the former White House adviser about some of the latter’s questionable staffing decisions during the early stages of his presidency.
Coulter tweeted, “No, actually, I knew Trump was betraying us pretty early on – and that it would cost him re-election. My December 2, 2016 email to Steve Bannon:”
No, actually, I knew Trump was betraying us pretty early on – and that it would cost him re-election.
My December 2, 2016 email to Steve Bannon: pic.twitter.com/38hGPNUqqN
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 14, 2021
In an email sent on December 2, 2016 with a subject line titled “ghost of christmas future”, Coulter warned then-White House adviser Bannon about some of Trump’s hiring decisions.
She first noted that “the fact that Trump is even CONSIDERING rep. Mccaul (rubio in the house) for homeland — and is NOT considering kobach— tells me we’re not getting any major deportations, no removal of refugees, no e-verify, no end to end anchor babies… and trump will be dead.
also, “mad dog” isn’t going to build a wall.”
She was referring to Texas Congressman Michael McCaul, a known mass migration booster and a potential nominee for the head of the Department of Homeland Security. United States Marine Corps General James Matthis would be Trump’s first Secretary of Defense, who ended up turning out to be a Deep State hack. On the other hand, Kris Kobach is a nationally recognized immigration hawk, who gained fame for implementing some of the stiffest voter ID standards in the nation during his time as Secretary of State.
The Trump administration was successful in implementing several administrative changes that limited immigration and also did not get involved in any nation-building engagements like previous administrations.
Nevertheless, Coulter’s incisive suggestions still have use for future Republican administrations. The new GOP should follow Coulter’s pro-migration restriction suggestions if it wants to not only remain politically relevant, but also protect the integrity of America’s political system.
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