Bondi's $25,000 Trump check draws ethics and Bar complaints
Attorney General Pam Bondi's political difficulties deepened Wednesday when a Massachusetts lawyer filed three separate formal complaints, claiming that her acceptance of a $25,000 check from Donald Trump violate the state ethics code, the election laws and the Florida Bar's rules of professional conduct for attorneys.
All three complaints cite Bondi's solicitation of the donation at a time when her office was reviewing one or more consumer complaints against Trump University, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's now-defunct real estate academy.
The complaints were filed by J. Whitfield Larrabee III, a Brookline, Mass. lawyer whose web site describes him as "a trial lawyer working to hold powerful corporations and wealthy insurance companies accountable to ordinary people."
Larrabee's ethics complaint does not accuse Bondi of violating a specific statute. It says the complaint "is for ethical violations related to her solicitation of campaign contributions from Donald Trump and her acceptance of a $25,000 campaign contribution from a Trump-related charitable foundation at a time when her office was considering joining an investigation of the New York attorney general of Trump University and related entities."
Larrabee's elections complaint charged that Bondi "aided and abetted Trump and the foundation in committing tax fraud by (using) tax-exempt charitable funds for unlawful political purposes." Bondi's office has said she returned the $25,000 in March of this year after discovering that the charity was prohibited from making political contributions to her political committee, but the committee's accountant said Trump sent a $25,000 personal check.
"This complaint is based on information culled from reliable and published reports, including reports of the Associated Press," Larrabee wrote in his Bar complaint.