Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been making a lot of headlines lately. She has been surging in the polls given Democrats are loving her radical policies that she’s vowing to implement if she becomes president.
Now, the 2020 Democratic hopeful is considering someone to be her running mate that could sink her campaign.
Warren’s team has reportedly been meeting with Andrew Gillum, the former Tallahassee Democratic Mayor who lost his senate bid in 2018 to GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Gillum was under FBI investigation amid corruption allegations. Subpoenaed documents also show Gillum previously used taxpayer funds from the state’s official mayoral office expense account to pay for a meeting meant to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign.
In other words, Warren’s potential running mate has been under FBI investigation twice and has been accused of illegally stealing taxpayer funds to help pay for his failed 2018 gubernatorial run.
But two sources said the talks between Warren and Gillum resemble the kind of courtship that happens when a leading presidential candidate is exploring potential vice presidential contenders.
One source briefed on the communications said the two Democrats have been in contact over the course of the campaign and that there is a “strong impression” that Gillum is a possible vice presidential contender for Warren, who has risen in recent months to become a frontrunner in the 2020 primary, the source said.
“If you’re trying to win Florida, I would be courting Andrew and that’s what’s happening,” a second source familiar with the conversations said.
Others said the conversations are broader in scope and that Gillum, who narrowly lost a gubernatorial bid by less than a half a point to Republican Ron DeSantis in 2018, is a key player in the biggest battleground state, which President Donald Trump won by less than two percentage points in 2016.
Gillum is marred with two gigantic scandals.
The first involves allegations that he received tickets for the anti-Trump play “Hamilton” from an uncover FBI agent back in 2016 who had been leading a probe into corruption throughout Tallahassee — which was being led by Gillum at the time when he served as mayor.
Gillum later falsely claimed he had received the tickets from his brother, but that was a lie.
It’s unclear if the FBI is still investigating the case, dropped the charges, or stuck some sort of deal with Gillum.
The other scandal is just as bad.
Documents subpoenaed by the Florida Commission on Ethics show that Gillum used taxpayer funds from the state’s official mayoral office expense account to pay for a meeting meant to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign.
“Gillum took a round-trip flight from Tallahassee to Tampa Bay’s St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport on Feb. 12, 2016, to attend an event at the posh Capital Grille restaurant described in the documents as ‘MEET AND GREET TAMPA DONORS,’” Fox News reported.
When asked about the meeting in 2017, the mayor’s office claimed the trip had been for official purposes, alleging that Gillum’s treasurer set up a meeting with a local developer to advance “social services” causes.
It’s strange that Gillum wanted to meet with a developer in Tampa to speak about social service efforts in Tallahassee.
The documents obtained by the FCE suggest Gillum’s office lied and could have faced prosecution.
City expense accounts, by Florida law, can be used “only for legitimate expenses in connection with the candidate’s public office,” and any violation is considered a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
The Florida Division of Elections has ruled that it is “the responsibility of the elected candidate to determine whether an expense to be paid out of these surplus funds is an expense incurred as a result of and due to that person’s public office or position as opposed to an expense that is personal in nature.”
Gillum has a lot of baggage, but at least he’s a tiny step up from Joe Biden’s rumored running mate — who is $200,000 in debt and lost her last election.