The details surrounding “Trump University” and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) already painted an unflattering picture. We learned last week that Bondi briefly considered joining a multi-state suit against the controversial “school,” but the Florida Republican dropped the investigation after the Trump Foundation made a $25,000 contribution towards Bondi’s re-election.
The Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell noted over the weekend that it’s “wildly unethical” for a prosecutor to “take money from a potential target.” And as it turns out, new details from the Associated Press make the controversy appear even worse.
Florida’s attorney general personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump around the same time her office deliberated joining an investigation of alleged fraud at Trump University and its affiliates. […]The money came from a Trump family foundation in apparent violation of rules surrounding political activities by charities. A political group backing Bondi’s re-election, called And Justice for All, reported receiving the check Sept. 17, 2013 – four days after Bondi’s office publicly announced she was considering joining a New York state probe of Trump University’s activities, according to a 2013 report in the Orlando Sentinel.
Bondi apparently isn’t responding to media inquiries, but her office referred the AP to Marc Reichelderfer, a political consultant who worked for her re-election effort, who said Bondi wasn’t aware of the consumer complaints her office had received about “Trump U” when she reached out to Trump for the improper contribution. He added that the appeal for campaign cash came before her office considered investigating the so-called “school.”
And the fact that Bondi’s office ended its investigation soon after the $25,000 arrived should be seen as a coincidence.
The Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell’s piece added, “It’s time for an independent investigator” to look into the state Attorney General’s handling of the matter.
Even if you’re a hard-core Trump or Bondi supporter, you should care about this case if you also care about justice.In fact, if you want to try to defend Bondi’s actions, try finishing this sentence for me: “I think it is perfectly appropriate for a prosecutor to take big chunks of money from someone she has been asked to investigate because ….”If you can finish that sentence with a straight face, OK. I can’t. And you know what? I don’t think Pam Bondi can either.
Watch this space.