Today, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi spoke out about concerns about a possible connection between a $25,000 donation to her campaign by Donald Trump and her subsequent decision to not pursue an investigation into Trump University. The Miami Herald is reporting that Bondi left a voicemail message for one of its reporters. Among her statements in that voicemail was this.
“I never, nor was my office, investigating him. Never. I would never lie. I would never take money. I’ve been obviously devastated over this.”
In a separate statement, Bondi commented on a report by the Associated Press on Monday about the donation and the Trump University investigation. She said, “No one in my office ever opened an investigation of Trump University, nor was there a basis for doing so.”
On June 4, the Associated Press reported that three days after a spokeswoman for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that they were investigating Trump University, Donald Trump’s family foundation made a donation of $25,000 to Bondi’s re-election campaign. The investigation was soon dropped. Bondi cited a lack of evidence.
On Monday, the Associated Press did a follow-up story in which they stated that Bondi personally asked Donald Trump for a campaign donation several weeks before her office announced that it was considering investigating Trump University. They also stated that the records of the group to whom the $25,000 donation was made, And Justice for All, indicate that it was received four days after the public announcement that Florida was considering an investigation into Trump University. Bondi’s spokesman Marc Reichelderfer told the AP that “Bondi was unaware of dozens of consumer complaints received by her office about Trump University filed before she requested the donation.”
In addition to the $25,000 donation to Bondi’s campaign, Donald Trump has donated over $253,000 since in Florida since 1999, most of it to Republican causes. Ivanka Trump, Donald’s daughter, gave Bondi $500 a week before her father’s $25,000 donation and gave another $25,000 to the Republican Party of Florida the following year.
The fact that the office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi decided against investigating charges of fraud against Trump University after receiving the $25,000 donation is considered suspicious by many because of Trump’s own words about his expectations when he makes donations. At a rally in January in Iowa, the presumptive Republican candidate said the following.
“When I want something I get it. When I call, they kiss my a**. It’s true.”
Bondi tried to return the Donald Trump family foundation donation because as a charitable organization, it’s not authorized to make campaign contributions. Nancy Watkins, a Tampa accountant for the committee that received the donation, said that Trump refused to take the money back and instead sent a personal check.
It’s widely known that Pam Bondi is a strong supporter of Donald Trump in his bid for president of the United States. The Miami Times reports that she was one of a few Trump supporters who took part in a strategy call this week.
“During the call, Trump urged his surrogates to not only defend his attacks on U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, but to join in themselves. Trump also lambasted his own staffer for previously circulating a memo suggesting his supporters shy away the Judge Curiel situation.”
“Judge Curiel is overseeing cases involving Trump University. Trump has called Curiel’s credibility into question because the American-born judge is of Mexican heritage. “
The Florida Democratic Party is now circulating a petition in which they are calling for a probe into the situation. They also are calling for Bondi to return the $25,000 donation to Donald Trump.
[Photo by Gerald Herbert/Associated Press]