Jimmy Patronis' campaign for Chief Financial Officer launched a website Monday detailing "criminal and scandalous" donations to his Democratic opponent's campaign.
"RingsCriminalRing.com" is being promoted as part of Patronis' $500,000 digital advertising campaign, according to a press release. The homepage of the website says Jeremy Ring is "keeping company with criminals."
Patronis was appointed to the role of CFO by longtime friend Gov. Rick Scott after Jeff Atwater resigned from the office in 2017. Because Atwater's term technically ends this year, it creates a rare open seat for the office.
The website highlights eight people with either criminal or "scandalous" accusations who donated to Ring's campaign or political committee, Florida Action Fund, in 2017 and 2018.
The website also outlines an FDLE investigation that found Patronis' driving records were accessed by a researcher hired by Democrats. State investigators found that the researcher did access confidential information, but that the actions were not illegal. Despite Patronis' campaign pointing at Ring for the breach, the Democratic candidate was not mentioned in the investigation.
"Senator Jeremy Ring is risky and reckless," said campaign spokeswoman Katie Strickland. "His connections to criminal and scandalous donors yet again reveals his stunning lack of judgement."
The Ring campaign said in a statement that the website is a "sad attempt" to distract voters. His campaign referred to a June story first reported by Politico, which revealed that Patronis crashed a state-issued car on his way to his political consultant's office last year.
"He misused taxpayer resources and was caught by the press redhanded," campaign spokesman Anthony Pardal wrote in a statement. "It's sad that Jimmy has become Florida's Chief Fraud Officer."