“I’ve given to everybody, because . . . when I want something, I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass.” — Donald Trump
Back in 2013, more than 100 Floridians complained that they were defrauded by Trump University. Attorney General Pam Bondi was asked to investigate their claims and take action against the school if warranted. She declined, and instead referred the victims to a class action lawsuit that was filed against the school in New York.
The referral was itself a slight. The Florida Attorney General’s mandate is to fight for and protect the state and its residents. On her website, she answers “Frequently Asked Questions.” Question #2, and Bondi’s answer is this:
If you believe that you are the victim of a scam or fraud, please call the Attorney General’s toll free hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (or 1-866-966-7226).
Maybe the answer should have read “if you believe you are the victim of a scam or fraud, please call the Attorney General in New York.” Shucks, why not let the New York lawyers figure out if Florida residents have been defrauded?
Well, shortly after the referral, it came to light that Bondi’s campaign took money– $25,000– from Donald Trump’s Trump Foundation just a few days before she decided not to go after Trump U. Now, I don’t know what she knew or didn’t know, but the timing of this whole thing sounds pretty sketchy to me.
When Bondi’s people first got wind that the scandal was out, they tried right away to give the money back. Trump’s camp said no. Maybe because she hadn’t kissed enough butt to that point.
Then the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the IRS against the foundation, and suddenly Trump’s campaign was saying that the $25,000 donation to Bondi’s And Justice for All committee was “a clerical error.”
Damien Filer, political director of the progressive advocacy group Progress Florida, recently delivered more than 6,000 petitions to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking that the feds investigate our chief legal officer.
But in all likelihood, nothing’s going to happen. The Republicans (who, by the way, are outnumbered by Democrats in Florida) control the state legislature (because Democrats tend not to vote in the non-presidential, or “mid-term” elections), and the governor’s name is Rick Scott. He used to own a company that was hit with the largest fine in history for committing Medicaid fraud, and he likes Trump. Birds of a feather. And if Scott likes Trump, like him or not, Bondi likes Trump.
And don’t expect Lynn to be aggressive about this. In my opinion she won’t want to start an investigation that Republicans will claim is designed to help Clinton win the Oval Office. Politics, politics.
On a different front, a complaint has been filed by a private attorney group seeking federal indictments against Trump and Bondi for bribery related crimes.
Bondi’s office insists there is no connection between the donation and her decision not to investigate Trump U.
While it all seems sketchy, I could be wrong about Bondi and Trump. For the sake of the Sunshine State I hope I am. But in the world of politics, when it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it usually turns out to be a dog.