By MichaelMH Published Dec. 07, 2022
Update: Dec. 08, 2022 Joe Harding, the Florida Republican state representative who authored the highly-controversial and some say unconstitutional “Don’t Say Gay” law has just resigned, one day after pleading “not guilty” and assuring his constituents on social media he is working “for a fair and just resolution” to federal felony fraud and money laundering charges.
Florida state representative and author of the controversial law banning teachers from mentioning their sexuality in class, Joe Harding, is now facing federal charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements. According to an indictment filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, Harding allegedly created bank accounts for dormant business entities and used them to apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, with the intent of defrauding the SBA out of more than $150,000.
Related Story: Federal Judge Tells Ron DeSantis to Sit Down and STFU
The allegations against Harding come as a surprise to many Floridians who have followed his career in politics since 2017, when he was first elected to represent District 53 in the Florida House of Representatives. During his tenure as a lawmaker, Harding has been an outspoken opponent of LGBTQ rights and authored a bill that banned teachers in public schools from talking about any form of sexuality.
Now it appears that Harding has done some eyebrow-raising things himself as he stands accused of attempting to defraud taxpayers out of COVID-19 emergency relief funds. If convicted on all three charges brought against him, he could face up to 20 years behind bars and millions in fines.
It remains to be seen how this case will play out, but one thing is certain. Florida voters are watching closely as they try to make sense of this latest Republican scandal involving one of their elected officials. Whether or not Joe Harding is found guilty or innocent, this case serves as a reminder that no one is above the law, not even politicians! We can only hope that justice is served and those responsible for any criminal wrongdoing are held accountable for their actions.