Congressional Democrats call for federal investigation into Bondi, Trump
Congressional Democrats are calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Donald Trump’s $25,000 donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2013, saying that it is a case of “bribery.”
In a Tuesday afternoon letter signed by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, including Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida, members of Congress called for the DOJ to look into bribery laws that may have been violated.
The Donald J. Trump Foundation gave Bondi’s political committee, And Justice for All, $25,000 in September 2013 around the same time her office decided not to pursue an investigation into Trump University.
“This fact pattern indicates that these payments may have influenced Mrs. Bondi’s official decision not to participate in litigation against Mr. Trump,” the members of Congress wrote in the letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
They are not the first people to call for an investigation. Democratic activist groups have done the same. Several newspaper editorial boards in Florida have as well, including the Tampa Bay Times last Thursday.
Bondi’s office was not immediately available for comment. However, a spokesman, Whitney Ray, has maintained for months that the decision of whether or not to investigate Trump University following consumer complaints never reached the attorney general’s level and was entirely handled by staff.
The New York attorney general did investigate Trump University, and lawyers in California are pursuing a class action lawsuit.
Though three years old, the $25,000 check came back into the news recently after Trump paid a $2,500 fine because of tax law violations. Charities like the Trump Foundation cannot contribute to political causes.
But congressional Democrats are concerned about a different issue.
“Our concerns extend beyond Mr. Trump’s violation of tax laws,” they wrote.
“We also note that this allegation — that Mr. Trump bribed a Florida state official to protect his business interests — is consistent with Mr. Trump’s own statements about using money to influence politics.”
Earlier Tuesday, Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, called for a DOJ review.
"I went to law school," said Deutch, a member of the House Judiciary Committee. "You've got to think about ethics and you have to worry about conflicts of interest all the time."