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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Does Pam Bondi want to face a Senate confirmation?

President-elect Donald Trump and Attorney General Pam Bondi walk together just before an August rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.


President-elect Donald Trump and Attorney General Pam Bondi walk together just before an August rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.



The steady trickle of political appointments by President-elect Donald Trump over the last month has so far not included one Floridian who is seen as very likely to win a top federal job: Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Speculating about Bondi's next career move has become a favorite parlor game in Tallahassee. A lot of ideas have been thrown around: White House drug czar, a nod to her first-term crackdown on so-called pill mills; assistant attorney general; U.S. trade representative. She was even seen as a potential U.S. attorney general until Trump tapped Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama for the job.

However consider that more than 1,000 of the most prominent jobs in federal government require Senate confirmation. And Bondi has never been one to enjoy close scrutiny.

A controversy about a $25,000 check from Trump to Bondi's reelection campaign that came around the time other states were investigating and suing Trump University came to a boiling point this September in a tense press conference in the state Capitol. After weeks of Bondi refusing to comment, reporters asked pointed questions.

Bondi fired back.

"If I had returned it, you would have reported, 'Bondi accepted bribe, got caught, and returned it,' " she said. "There was nothing improper about it, so there was no reason to return it."

Text messages released to the Times/Herald show that in early June, Bondi felt personally victimized by reporting about the Trump check.

"Shame on you," she wrote to one reporter. "You have destroyed my entire career ... Complete lies."

Bondi, whose resume includes nearly 20-year career as a Tampa prosecutor and six years as a conservative state attorney general, would likely have no problem winning approval from a Republican-controlled Senate.

But the confirmation process can be grueling and contentious. Bondi could face much quesitons from far more adversarial people than the Capitol Press Corps in Tallahassee.

Surely, that must be on her mind as she considers what jobs Trump may offer.

Still, it's not certain when a Bondi appointment may come.

Speculation has been fueled by her absence from the ceremonial organizational session of the Florida Legislature last week. The rest of the Cabinet was there. Bondi, who tends to avoide the spotlight in Tallahassee except during Cabinet meetings and ceremonial occasions, was absent.

Her office never responded to three emails asking where the Florida attorney general -- second in the line of succession to the governor's office -- was during the session.

On Monday, a spokeswoman provided no answer to questions about whether Bondi had plans to travel to New York, where Trump's team is interviewing job candidates, or about phone calls scheduled with the Trump transition.


[Last modified: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 10:39am]


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