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Independent Investigation Needed Over Bondi’s Handling of Trump University Fraud

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Today, Florida House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford and FDP Chair Allison Tant called for independent investigations at the state and federal level into Attorney General Pam Bondi’s solicitation of a donation from Donald Trump while Floridians were asking her to investigate his fraudulent Trump University. 

The facts are clear. More than 20 Floridians contacted the attorney general’s office for help obtaining refunds from Trump University after getting ripped off. As the Orlando Sentinel reported, Bondi’s office offered little help. Several weeks receiving the complaints, Pam Bondi personally solicited a donation from Donald Trump. Shortly thereafter, Bondi received a $25,000 donation from the Trump Foundation, which, according to the Washington Post, violated the law against tax-exempt charities making political donations. After receiving the donation, Bondi decided against pursing an investigation into Trump University. 

Over the last few months, Bondi has consistently dodged questions about the donation and intentionally tried to mislead the public, as the AP reported yesterday.  

Bondi's office said that its statement about receiving only a single complaint was accurate at the time because most of the complaints dealt with the Trump Institute, a separate corporate entity from Trump University. The Trump Institute was licensed by Trump to run his seminars, however, with Trump keeping a share of the profits. In internal emails, Bondi's own staff appeared to lump Trump University and the Trump Institute together — as New York's lawsuit has done.

In response to the AP’s report, Florida House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford made the following statement:  

“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. 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.”  

Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant said: 

“Enough is enough. Florida’s top law enforcement official solicited a donation from someone she was supposed to be investigating for fraud. Rather than return the dirty money, Pam Bondi has tried to hide the truth and has been caught attempting to mislead the public. She even went as far as to campaign for Trump, who has made a habit of bragging about buying politicians. Floridians deserve answers and Pam Bondi must be held accountable. It is time for an independent investigation into Pam Bondi’s dereliction of duty.”