Did Ron DeSantis’ campaign just put a First Responder group’s nonprofit status into jeopardy? Well, probably not—but there’s still time.

Schedulers for the Republican nominee for governor included a charitable fundraiser on a list of “several campaign events” that the candidate will attend today.

The final public event for DeSantis will be the First Responders Fall Cook-off at the Indian River Fairgrounds in Vero Beach.

The problem? The event serves as a benefit for the First Responders of Indian River County, a 501(c)(3) organization with tax-exempt status. That designation comes with rules aplenty, according to LegalZoom, chief among them a prohibition on any political or substantial lobbying activity.

It’s something local party leaders have been conscious of as they spread the word DeSantis would attend the cook-off as a guest judge. Frank Sosta, Jr., Indian River County chairman for the DeSantis campaign, stressed on social media posts that there will be “NO CAMPAIGNING” (note the all-caps) permitted at the event.

That’s because event organizers don’t want their tax status revoked. Now, Sosta will have T-shirts to sell on-hand but those are not something to be worn at the event.


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