Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Attorney General Pam Bondi is coming out swinging after the Associated Press reported
she "personally solicited"
a political donation from Donald Trump before killing an investigation into Trump University and its affiliates.
reports Bondi released a statement, saying:
"Yesterday’s story was false and misleading — including statements that my office ‘publically announced it was deliberating whether to join a lawsuit’ or that I 'nixed suing Trump.' My office has made public every document on this issue, which shows no one in my office ever opened an investigation on Trump University nor was there a basis for doing so. Any news story that suggests otherwise is completely false. I have spent my career prosecuting criminals and protecting Floridians and will not compromise my dedication to our citizens."
Bondi's comment that there never was a basis for investigating Trump and his businesses contradict what the Orlando Sentinel
found when it requested records from her office. The Sentinel
reported the records mentioned one complaint, then two, then 23 complaints. One man who complained he was driven to bankruptcy by Trump U was told by Bondi's staff to visit Yahoo or Google and search for related class-action lawsuits.
also reports that Bondi tried to return the $25,000 donation to Trump's charity foundation, but it was rejected.
"Nancy Watkins, the treasurer of a political committee run by Bondi, said this week that the group sent a check to the Trump Foundation in March after they became aware the foundation was a charity, an apparent violation of the rules surrounding political activities by charities," the AP says. "Watkins said the Trump Foundation refused to accept the check, saying Trump wrote a personal check to his foundation covering the amount."
Florida Democrats have called for an "independent investigation
" at the state and federal level into Bondi's reported solicitation.
"The AP’s report that Attorney General Pam Bondi personally solicited a donation from Trump as her constituents filed complaints against Trump University is disturbing and underscores the need for an independent investigation into the matter," says Florida House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford in a statement. "Bondi’s refusal to provide a transparent, detailed explanation, coupled with the news that her staff apparently failed to take the complaints seriously, is beneath the dignity of her office. It’s the Attorney General’s job to protect Florida consumers, not political allies like Donald Trump. Bondi’s conduct is unacceptable and Floridians deserve the full accounting an independent investigation would bring."