Thursday, October 19, 2023

Former FL legislator who authored 'Don't Say Gay' law sentenced to four months in prison for fraudulent COVID relief dollars scheme

Former Fl legislator Joe Harding

When Fl Gov Ron DeSantis began all of this nonsense with his 'Don't Say Gay' bill which later became law, it was an attempt to cast him as a strong conservative culture warrior in anticipation to his upcoming presidential campaign. Fast-forwarding to now, DeSantis' presidential campaign is miserably flailing because in spite of his bravdo, he comes across as a creepy phony.

But he is not the only Florida state official (in this case, former Florida state official) whose heavy push of the 'Don't Say Gay' bill hasn't garnered a happy ending.

From Florida Politics:

Former state Rep. Joe Harding will spend four months in prison and another two years of probation. A judge ordered the sentence nearly seven months after the Williston Republican pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and lying to investigators. Prosecutors sought charges in connection to Harding seeking COVID-19 relief dollars for businesses no longer operating. U.S. Attorney Jason Coody announced the sentence.

 . . . Prosecutors say Harding secured $150,000 in federal relief funds from the Small Business Administration. Bank records showed he immediately transferred money from an Economic Injury Disaster Loan to personal accounts and a credit card. U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor sentenced Harding to four months in federal prison for each of these criminal counts, and the former lawmaker will be allowed to serve those sentences concurrently. 

 Harding must surrender to authorities no later than noon on Jan. 24. Once he completes his prison sentence, Harding will remain on probation for another two years. 

 Harding was the author of the 'Don't Say Gay' law. 

 Harding drew national attention after he authored the much-maligned “don’t say gay” law in Florida, which initially forbade public school teachers from teaching about gender identity or sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade. Since Harding left the legislature, the Florida Board of Education extended the ban through high school, and the legislature grew the statutory ban through eighth grade. 

 He also pushed for an amendment in law which would make teachers out LGBTQ student to their parents. However, after public outcry, he withdrew the amendment.

So, yet another conservative 'pro-family,' 'pro-traditional values' lawmaker turns out to be a hypocrite, thereby ruining his career in an embarrassingly public fashion.  

And in other more pressing news, I'm making garlic fries tonight. With malt vinegar.