Donald Trump made headlines last week for paying a $2,500 IRS fine for improperly using money from a charity to fund a campaign committee for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
But I'm here to tell you: The wrong person is receiving the brunt of the scrutiny here.
Listen, I understand the global interest in Trump. But when a prosecutor has been asked to investigate someone and instead takes $25,000 in campaign cash from him, it's the prosecutor who most needs probing.
That's why I began digging into this way back in 2013 — long before Trump was even a candidate for the White House.
After the check came in, her office decided not to take any action against Trump. Bondi's office had been considering whether to pursue an investigation against Trump University.
Bondi, whose own spokesman said Bondi personally asked Trump for the money, says the two things weren't related. But imagine if another prosecutor did such a thing.
Imagine you were robbed and the prosecutor gave the suspect a pass after taking $25,000 from him.
There would be universal outrage — and rightfully so. This is not the behavior of an ethical prosecutor.
Nor is it how New York's attorney general behaved. After New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman received complaints, he filed a civil suit against Trump University, labeling it a "bait-and-switch" scheme. This may be why Floridians looked to New York for help.
This week, I looked at the records in the New York case and found complaints from several Floridians. A North Lauderdale man said he spent $8,750 and never got a promised mentor. A Miami resident said she lost "more than $40,000" paying for services that weren't provided. A Hollywood man said he quickly determined the seminars were "a complete scam" and was denied his "satisfaction guarantee" refund (a key detail in all this).
All told, the New York case covers a total of 827 Trump courses taken by Floridians, said Doug Cohen, a spokesman for Schneiderman.
Think about that. That means Floridians who feel victimized have to hope that an elected official more than 1,000 miles away will right any alleged wrongs.
Many of the cases involved Trump seminars that took place in 2008, when former Attorney General Bill McCollum was in office. But a number of the Florida complaints were filed in New York in in 2013 — after Bondi took office and before she took Trump's campaign check.
Bondi's office claimed it took no action because it found nothing worth pursuing. But I can't find much evidence that staffers actually looked.
Earlier this year, I filed a public records request, asking for any documentation that might prove Bondi's office conducted any hard-hitting investigating.
They responded with 8,491 pages of documents — a records dump that seemed like an attempt to cover up a lack of investigation with an avalanche of paperwork.
Still, I went through it. And while I found plenty of largely meaningless papers, including 39 copies of a single email I sent the office three years earlier, there was scant evidence of office investigators actually vetting the complaints, interviewing witnesses or ferreting out the validity of the complaints.
In one instance, Bondi's office told a man who said he lost $26,000 that he might be better off surfing the Internet. "I encourage you to visit an Internet search engine such as http://www.yahoo.com or http://www.google.com."
Compare that to New York's attorney general, who filed suit, labeling Trump University "a fraud from beginning to end."
Trump says Schneiderman has it all wrong; that he's a Democratic politician with an ax to grind. He also called Schneiderman a "lightweight hack" and "the dumbest attorney general in the United States."
By contrast, Trump considers Bondi, who now campaigns for him, a "truly wonderful woman."
This has gone on long enough. Bondi's actions need to be probed by an independent body. And the Floridians who filed complaints deserve to have their concerns reviewed by someone who didn't take campaign money from the man they were complaining about.
The Florida Bar says it has no jurisdiction. The state attorney in Leon County has taken a pass. So have the governor's office and the Legislature, both of which could demand hearings if they wanted.
If Floridians want action, they should speak up. But it may be up to the U.S. Justice Department.
I understand that the media fascination with this case involves the Trump side of the equation. Especially because Trump has bragged about being able to buy politicians.
But you can like Trump and still know it's wildly inappropriate for a prosecutor to take money from someone she's been asked to investigate. Floridians, meanwhile, will still be stuck with an attorney general who thinks it's okay to take fat campaign checks from would-be subjects of her office's investigations.
And that's just wrong.
Scott Maxwell is a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. © 2016 Orlando Sentinel