Fla. Attorney General Pam Bondi makes introductory remarks for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, before Trump arrives at a campaign event in Tampa, Fla. on March 14, 2016.
Photo by Gerald Herbert/AP

Despite controversy, Florida’s AG accepts role on Trump panel

The Rachel Maddow Show, 4/21/17, 9:00 PM ET

New Trump hire resurrects corruption questions

Rachel Maddow revisits the questions that surrounded a Donald Trump Foundation donation to the campaign of Florida A.G. Pam Bondi coinciding with her decision not to join a lawsuit against Trump University, now that a top lawyer for Bondi, Carlos Muniz…
Donald Trump’s controversy surrounding his illegal campaign contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) faded from the news – only to be replaced with other controversies – but the Washington Examiner reports that the Florida Republican accepted a role on a presidential commission, which should probably help renew questions that were never really answered.

Trump appointed Bondi, a longtime Trump supporter, to the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis in March, but has yet to join the commission.

“The President always intended for the Attorney General to be on the Commission – however, Governor Christie choose [sic] to begin the Commission with only himself and four others. The announcement is protocol before the Executive Order is signed next week,” Bondi’s spokesperson, Whitney Ray, said in an email.

According to local reports, Bondi will not have to give up her post in state government in order to serve on Trump’s panel.

Nevertheless, the timing of the developments is a bit odd. According to the White House, the president’s commission on the addiction crisis is supposed to issue a report on its findings by Oct. 1. In other words, Bondi is expected to join the administration’s panel a few weeks before the commission wraps up its work.

As for the underlying controversy about Bondi and Trump, let’s circle back to our coverage from last fall, and consider a brief timeline of events:

* Late August 2013: Bondi reached out to Trump, seeking financial support for her 2014 re-election campaign in Florida.

* Sept. 13, 2013: Bondi’s AG office acknowledged that it was investigating fraud allegations against “Trump University.”

* Sept. 17, 2013: Trump’s charitable foundation, which is legally prohibited from donating to political campaigns, cut a $25,000 check for a group supporting Bondi’s campaign. (The foundation later paid a fine to the IRS for the illegal donation.)

* Oct. 15, 2013: Bondi’s office reversed course and said it wasn’t pursuing allegations made against “Trump University.”

* March 2014: Trump offered Bondi’s re-election campaign a generous deal while renting out his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Now, the president has extended a new benefit to Bondi: a role on a high-profile federal commission, which happens to be nearly finished with its work.

Donald Trump and Florida

Despite controversy, Florida's AG accepts role on Trump panel