After his election victory, Donald Trump agreed to pay out $25 million in settlement of claims against the new defunct Trump University. In September, before the election, the Florida Attorney General’s office had announced that that there were “insufficient grounds” to proceed with a fraud probe of the school. Three years earlier, it had announced that it was considering such a probe in anticipation of legal action against Trump University.
Four days after that threat, Donald Trump’s personal charity illegally donated $25,000 to a political group supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s re-election campaign. Bondi personally solicited that donation from Trump just as her office was deciding whether to pursue the Trump U. investigation. (This is almost certainly an prosecutorial ethics violation, as well as being obviously corrupt.) This revelation by the Associated Press emerged during the campaign, and was swamped by all the other Trump controversies at the time.
Yesterday, Trump’s transition team told Bloomberg that Pam Bondi has accepted a job in Trump’s White House.
As with other apparent bribes via campaign contributions, proving a quid pro quo is nigh impossible. It would be hard to even pin an “appearance of impropriety” charge on the Trump Administration, since appointments, never mind jobs, have gone to allies and financial supporters of Presidents since the first primordial presidential ooze crawled into the White House. Is it unethical? Of course.
Legal ethics might be the best way to nail Bondi, even though Trump is untouchable on this. The Florida Bar is one of the strictest on lawyer ethics in the nation, and even if she’s in Washington, Florida can suspend or disbar her for putting up justice for sale. I’ve got to check and see if Florida is one the states where anyone can file an ethics complaint. I might file one myself.
She took a bribe.