Photo by Joey Roulette
Democratic nominee for Attorney General Sean Shaw
Outside a Trump International resort in Sunny Isles Beach, Attorney General candidate Sean Shaw
promised to investigate President Donald Trump's businesses in Florida for corruption involving Russian government officials.
"For years there have been reports that Donald Trump has used Trump properties, including this very resort, as a tool for money laundering," Shaw said Thursday. "The hundreds of millions of dollars in Russian shell company money that has been reportedly pumped into Trump properties over the past 20 years raises troubling questions about how the president is conducting his business, why he's conducting it that way and what he's getting in return."
Shaw, a Democratic state House representative, is running against Republican Ashley Moody for Attorney General Pam Bondi's position. Across the street from Trump's resort on Thursday, Shaw cited a Reuters investigation
that found at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought almost $100 million worth of condominium units in Trump-branded resort, in an area that became known as "Little Moscow." The New York Times
reports the elite who invested included Russian government officials and a Ukrainian convicted in a money laundering scheme "involving a former Ukrainian prime minster." Reuters, though, said its review of "investors from Russia in Trump’s Florida condominium buildings found no suggestion of wrongdoing by President Trump or his real estate organization."
"The people of Florida deserve answers," Shaw said. "The people of Florida demand accountability. Pam Bondi had eight years to investigate Donald Trump. Instead, she took $25,000 from him. Ashley Moody has promised to be an extension of Pam Bondi. Is that really what the people of the state of Florida need more of? No."
reached out to Moody's campaign for a comment but did not receive an immediate response. A spokesperson for the Moody campaign did tell Florida Politics
that Moody will "continue to speak to the issues important to Floridians, like supporting our law enforcement, addressing the opioid crisis and elder abuse. Floridians do not need to be distracted by partisan political rhetoric at a time when voters want someone who they can trust to defend the rule of law."
If elected, Shaw said he would also join other state Attorneys General who filed a lawsuit
against Trump last year accusing him of violating the "foreign emoluments" clause of the U.S. Constitution by doing business with foreign governments.
"The emoluments clause … says that you will not profit from the presidency," Shaw said. "Trump is using the office of the presidency to personally enrich himself and those around him. This is unacceptable and potentially a crime. Special-interest groups and foreign governments have pumped money into properties like this and Mar-a-Lago to curry favor with the president. That's unacceptable, and I won't sit by like Pam Bondi and just allow it to happen."
Shaw, the state's former Insurance Consumer Advocate, says Attorneys General have realized they are "the last line of defense when it comes to public corruption."
"Unlike special prosecutor Mueller or members of the Department of Justice, the President can’t fire me," Shaw concluded. "I only answer and work for the people of the state of Florida. And they demand action and accountability. We are on the verge of a constitutional crisis. The silence from Ashley Moody is deafening. Where Moody fails to act, I'll lead."
Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.