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 earlier controversy, Pam Bondi joining Team Trump


A month ago, Donald Trump’s operation added a notable political figure to the team: former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) was slated to serve as outside counsel to the president as the impeachment inquiry intensified. And while this made a bit of a splash, the new face of Trump’s legal team didn’t last: the New York Times reported that the day after the announcement, “the arrangement fell apart.”

The “botched” rollout, the article added, left Trump and his advisers back at “square one, searching for a different lawyer.”

Evidently, they’ve found one, though the choice is not without controversy.

Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general joining the White House communications team to work on impeachment, is currently lobbying for Qatar and will be winding down that role to join the White House team.

Bondi was added in July to lobbying firm Ballard Partners’ $115,000-a-month contract with the Embassy of Qatar in Washington, according to a document filed in July with the Justice Department’s Foreign Agents Registration Act unit and reviewed by NBC News. Bondi was named “key personnel” for the contract and would be “personally and substantially engaged” in delivering services to the country, according to a consulting agreement filed with the DOJ.

According to NBC News’ reporting, Bondi will have “special government employee” status, which means she’ll be “brought into the government part time under less-stringent ethics rules than would apply to normal federal employees, including allowing them to continue their outside work.”

Adding to the interest, of course, is the previous controversy surrounding Trump and the former Florida state attorney general.

As regular readers may recall, in late August 2013, Bondi reached out to Trump, seeking financial support for her re-election campaign in Florida. A month later, Bondi’s office acknowledged that it was investigating fraud allegations against the so-called “Trump University.”

Less than a week after that acknowledgement, 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.)

In October 2013, Bondi’s office reversed course and said it was no longer pursuing allegations against “Trump University.”

Six years later, Bondi has joined Trump’s legal team, and by some measures, she’s already gone to work. Just this morning, the Florida Republican appeared on Fox News’ morning show and declared that presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner is “one of the smartest human beings” she’s ever met.

Perhaps Pam Bondi needs to meet more people?