Florida Republican behind state's "Don't Say Gay" law pleads guilty to defrauding Covid relief fund

Florida lawmaker Joseph Harding, 35, gained national attention for his sponsorship of that state's "Don't Say Gay" law, which forbids discussion of gender identity and sexuality in grade school. Harding yesterday pleaded guilty in Gainesville federal court to COVID-19 relief money fraud, money laundering, and lying to get his hands on the money.

According to court documents, Harding made false statements to the Small Business Administration while applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan for one of his dormant business entities. After obtaining $150,000 in COVID-19 relief funds, prosecutors said Harding conducted three monetary transactions, each involving more than $10,000 in fraudulently obtained funds: a transfer to his joint bank account, a payment to his credit card, and a transfer into a bank account of a third-party business entity.