Scratch one Bondi complaint, as Florida Bar has no jurisdiction
The Massachusetts lawyer who wants an investigation of Attorney General Pam Bondi won't be getting much of a response from the Florida Bar.
Bondi is a member of the Florida Cabinet, a lawyer and member of the Bar, but as long as she holds public office, she's beyond the Bar's jurisdiction. citing a writ of prohibition issued by the Supreme Court in 1982 that dealt with separation of powers issues. The Bar says anyone who files a complaint against a lawyer who at the time holds a constitutional office receives this response:
"The Florida Supreme Court has held that a person elected to a constitutionally created office who must be a lawyer to hold that office is not answerable to the Florida Bar while that person holds that office. Therefore, the Bar does not have jurisdiction over the elected state attorney or elected public defender in any of our judicial circuits, nor do we have jurisdiction over the attorney general of our state."
The Bar also notes that under the Florida Constitution, a Cabinet member is exclusively subject to impeachment proceedings by the state House of Representatives "for misdemeanor in office."
Attorney J. Whitfield Larrabee III of Brookline, Mass. filed a complaint with the Bar Wednesday based on news accounts that she solicited a $25,000 campaign contribution from Donald Trump in 2013 at a time when her office had on file at least one complaint from a disgruntled customer of Trump University, the GOP presidential candidate's now-defunct real estate academy.
Trump U. is a defendant in class-action civil suits involving customers living in California, Florida and New York who accuse the program of fraud and deceptive trade practices.
Larrabee accused Bondi of a conflict of interest and the appearance of impropriety. He also filed complaints against with Bondi with the Florida Elections Commission and Commission on Ethics. Bondi has called all three complaints "attacks without merit and I am confident it will be shown they have no basis in fact."