Florida AG defends decision to take money from Trump

Florida AG defends decision to take money from Trump

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi ended weeks of silence Tuesday and defended her acceptance of a $25,000 campaign contribution from Donald Trump while her office reviewed a consumer complaint about Trump University's real estate seminars.

Were that the end of it she might escape unscathed; alas, Bondi and Trump shared much more than a single donation "conveniently" timed.

During Tuesday's often-contentious session with reporters, she said she had no regret about the $25,000 donation, which was made from Trump's charity foundation to a political committee known as "And Justice for All", which helped in her successful 2014 re-election bid. He campaign received that donation a mere three days after her office announced they were investigating a complaint filed citing fraud committed by Trump University.

Last week, a letter to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch called for a similar investigation into Bondi. "I would never let any money, anyone stop what I do".

"Absolutely not, I am proud to be attorney general and I have two years left", the Orlando Sentinel quoted her as saying. "That's absurd, for some type of favor to anyone", Bondi said. Talking over reporters' questions she repeatedly pointed out there was no multi-state investigation into Trump University and she had never been asked to join in such an effort. She added in this week's addendum to that excuse that she didn't pursue the investigation because of both the existing out-of-state investigation against the scammy university and the fact that the company is based in NY.

Bondi said her office receives tens of thousands of complaints each year.

"Donald Trump did not get a pass", she said, according to Politico. But he has also said, including once during a January rally in Clear Lake, Iowa, that he gives money to politicians "because when I want something I get it".

She said she has no regrets about accepting the money from Trump and repeated that her office did nothing improper.

"Hillary is more than willing to show her tax returns, more than willing to show her medical records, more than willing to be as transparent as she possibly can, and from the other side we get nothing", said Mark Castellano, president of the Teachers Association of Lee County.

The issue flared back to life amid media coverage of Trump's presidential campaign and the recent news that his foundation paid a $2,500 fine to the IRS over the donation. Bondi set up her accounts in early August 2013. "So there was no reason to return it".

Bondi scoffed at calls by news outlets for a federal investigation of her conduct, including from the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald.

"Then what would you have reported?" she asked.

"Those were all handled on a staff level", Bondi said.

Asked if she felt her credibility is "shot" with Floridians, Bondi said: "I hope not", and she dismissed a suggestion that she consider resigning from office. She reiterated Tuesday that she won't run for elective office again.

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