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FL-Gov: Andrew Gillum releases receipts as his campaign deals with an FBI investigation

Andrew Gillum, the Democratic Paarty candidate for Florida governor, greets people during a campaign rally Friday at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades in Orlando, Florida. Gillum is facing Republican challenger Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) in the Nov. 6 election. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum , the Democratic candidate in Florida's gubernatorial race, released a series of financial documents on Tuesday. The campaign is seeking to clear up questions surrounding an investigation by the Florida Commission on Ethics into trips that Gillum took while he was mayor.

Gillum was widely seen as a third-place candidate before he pulled off a surprise upset during Florida's primary on Aug. 28.

Wait...what investigation?

The FBI investigation is not specifically directed at Gillum. Instead, it focuses on broad allegations of corruption in Tallahassee.

Gillum has come under fire for two trips he took in 2016 (one to New York City and one to Costa Rica). One of these trips was partly organized by "Mike Miller," an undercover FBI agent posing as a developer. The main issue in this investigation is who paid for the trips. Gillum insists that he did personally.

What did the documents say?

In order to answer questions, Gillum released 11 pages of partly-redacted documents. The documents include invoices, credit card statements, bank statements, details of a flight, and two pages detailing the schedule for the days in question.

However, the documents fail to answer some important questions. A lot of the information included in the documents is unclear. For example, a cash withdrawal of $400 is shown for May 2, two days before he flew to Costa Rica. Gillum's own ticket price is included as being $300 plus tax. However, Gillum's wife also accompanied him on the trip, so it is not clear if the withdrawal paid just for Gillum's own account, or for her.

Other details are omitted altogether, including documentation showing who payed for a "Hamilton" ticket. Gillum has claimed that a lobbyist and former friend Adam Corey had given him the ticket. Only one of the released records involved the trip to New York City.

The single document from the New York trip was an unsigned hotel invoice. The invoice showed that George Soros's Open Society Foundation paid for Gillum's room at the Ameritania Hotel. Soros was a significant supporter of Gillum's campaign, donating at least $1.25 million to Gillum's Forward Florida political committee.

Gillum has not been charged with any crime or served with any subpoenas. Gillum also said that the FBI has assured him that he is not the focus of their investigation. Because the ethics commission is only scheduled to meet twice before the general election in November, it is unlikely that this matter will be resolved before then.

What has Gillum said?

Gillum's attorney, Barry Richard, has argued that questions about the trips come  “down to a few little silly things.”

“[In] both of these cases, he [Gillum] joined some friends for a short time when they were all together,” Richard said. “He has receipts to show he paid for everything. The only question is things he paid cash for. And he didn’t do anything for anybody during that period of time. So it all comes down to just kicking at things.”

TheBlaze has reached out to Gillum's office, but has yet to hear a response.

What did his opponent say?

Gillum is running against current Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis. The DeSantis campaign supplied TheBlaze with the following quote from communications director Stephen Lawson:

It becomes clearer by the day why the FBI is interested in Andrew Gillum and his associates. 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.
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