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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats want FDLE to probe Trump-Bondi connection



A group of Florida Democrats in Washington want the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Donald Trump’s $25,000 contribution to Attorney General Pam Bondi.

“Given the suspicious circumstances surrounding the timing of Trump’s donation – which was simultaneous with the office’s decision not to take action against Trump and Trump University – a thorough and proper inquiry of the events surrounding Attorney General Bondi’s treatment of this investigation is clearly warranted,” reads the letter addressed to Commissioner Rick Swearingen.

It was signed by U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson.

Bondi said she was not influenced by Trump’s donation to her political committee and that the issues surrounding his real estate seminars never reached her desk.

But Democrats — including Hillary Clinton’s campaign — have tried to capitalize on news media coverage, which took off recently after it was discovered Trump used his foundation to make the donation and paid an IRS fine as a result.

The letter states that “internal emails from Attorney General’s Bondi’s office, have shown that they were aware that a Trump University affiliate, operating in Florida, was being run by notorious con artists. One of her predecessors had even filed an assurance of voluntary compliance with the con artists.

“As it turns out, Trump’s foundation had donated $25,000 to a PAC supporting Bondi within days of Bondi’s office disclosing that it was looking into his scam university. Months later, Trump hosted a $3,000-a-person fundraiser for Bondi at his Mar-A-Lago club, which he offered for rent at a highly discounted price.

“Three different lawsuits - two class actions overseen by Judge Curiel, and a major legal action by New York State - have cleared legal hurdles and are headed to trial as early as this Fall. In light of the seriousness of these allegations and the number of Floridians who were potential victims of a scam, as well as the clear and troubling conflict posed by the acceptance of a donation from a potential target of an investigation, we call on FDLE to conduct a thorough investigation of Attorney General Bondi's conduct in this matter."

[Last modified: Monday, September 26, 2016 9:56am]


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