[reposting from 6/7 – technical error failed to email]
Florida’s attorney general, Pam Bondi, has confirmed that she personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump at the time her office was considering prosecuting Trump University for fraud, the Associated Press reports. A Trump family foundation gave a nonprofit controlled by Bondi $25,000, and Bondi dropped the case.
In September 2013, the Orlando Sentinel ran a story asking why Bondi’s office wasn’t investigating Trump University. (New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman had just filed a lawsuit against the enterprise.) Bondi said that she would look into the matter.
Three days later, And Justice for All, the committee supporting her re-election campaign, received the check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Bondi’s office nixed the lawsuit, citing insufficient grounds to proceed. At the time, Trump refused to answer questions about why he was contributing to the Florida AG, but in a statement he called Bondi “a fabulous representative of the people” and Schneiderman “a political hack.”
Representatives of both Trump and Bondi have issued conflicting denials of any wrongdoing, but on Monday a spokesman for Bondi confirmed that the AG had asked Trump for the donation. The AP reports:
Bondi declined repeated requests for an interview on Monday, referring all questions to Marc Reichelderfer, a political consultant who worked for her re-election effort.
Reichelderfer told AP that Bondi spoke with Trump “several weeks” before her office publicly announced it was deliberating whether to join a lawsuit proposed by New York’s Democratic attorney general. Reichelfelder said that Bondi was unaware of the many consumer complaints received by her office about Trump’s real-estate seminars at the time she requested the donation.
“The process took at least several weeks, from the time they spoke to the time they received the contribution,” Reichelderfer told AP.