Tallahassee, Fla. (AP) — Florida legislators sponsor controversial legal commentator’s call for ‘Don’t Say Gay’ He was charged with defrauding the federal coronavirus loan program for small businesses, officials said Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors said 35-year-old Rep. Joe Harding illegally obtained or attempted to obtain more than $150,000 in pandemic assistance loans from the Small Business Administration. He has been charged with two counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering, and two counts of making false statements.
Harding, a Republican, rose to national prominence this year for sponsoring a law banning education about sexual orientation and gender identity. Kindergarten through 3rd grade and material that is not considered age appropriate.
“I want the public and voters to know that I paid off my loan in full and cooperated with investigators when requested,” Harding said in a statement.
The Republican speaker of the Florida House of Representatives has temporarily removed Harding from commissions on congressional committees.
A trial is scheduled for January 11th.