Andrew Gillum Joins CNN as Commentator Amid Ethics Probe

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 03: Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum speaks at a campaign rally in the CFE arena on November 3, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, is running against Republican candidate Ron DeSantis. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
JOSHUA CAPLAN

Failed Democrat Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum announced Tuesday that he is joining CNN as a political commentator. The move comes as an ethics complaint scrutinizing Gillum’s relationship with lobbyists while serving as the mayor of Tallahassee is said to be moving forward.

Gillum revealed the news via Twitter, writing: “Thrilled to be joining @CNN as a political commentator.”

Florida Republican Ron DeSantis defeated Gillum in the race for governor last November.

Last week, the Tampa Bay Times reported that state officials found probable cause on five counts that Gillum breached ethics rules by allegedly accepting gifts while traveling with lobbyists in 2016:

The Florida Commission on Ethics has yet to publicize the records in the case, but an attorney for Gillum said on Friday following a court hearing that the case will now go before an administrative law judge. The Tampa Bay Times notes that the finding is not a determination of guilt.

Tallahassee businessman Erwin Jackson filed the complaint last year, alleging that Gillum, who was the Democratic candidate for governor in the 2018 election, accepted gifts worth more than the $100 limit set by the state while in Costa Rica and New York City with his former friend, lobbyist Adam Corey, prior to his gubernatorial campaign.

Gillum initially reported that he paid all the expenses on each trip, and claimed that Corey had misled him.

“We’re going to have a full evidentiary hearing before an independent judge. It’ll be open to the public, and everybody can decide for themselves,” Barry Richards, Gillum’s lawyer, said. “There for sure will be no settlement.”

The high-profile hire comes days after CNN hired former Ohio governor and staunch Trump critic John Kasich as a senior contributor, stoking speculation that the staunch Never Trumper may use his platform to mount a primary challenge to President Donald Trump. In his first appearance, Kasich dismissed buzz about a potential 2020 White House run and vowed to be an “umpire, calling balls and strikes,” who is focused on “help[ing] people understand… the way things work on the inside.”

“[A]nd by the way, this is not me promoting anything, including myself,” he continued.

Gillum’s announcement coincided with the news that recently-retired Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) will join CBS News as a contributor.

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