Bondi’s Trump Donation Remarks Reinforce Need For Justice Department Review
|Deutch: “Bondi’s remarks raise more questions than they answer”|
In the wake of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's news conference this morning, Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21), a senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said her explanations "raise more questions than they answer" and called for an immediate federal investigation into potential violation of federal law by Bondi and Donald Trump.
This morning, Bondi stated that “there was not an investigation, at all” by her office into the dozens of complaints against Trump University that were filed by former students with the Florida Attorney General’s office. She claimed today that “there was nothing improper” with her decisions and actions.
"Pam Bondi's murky answers only raise more questions than they answer," said Rep. Deutch. "There are timeline questions that must either be clarified by her or a federal investigator. If she in fact did 'nothing improper,' then the public needs to know exactly when she solicited the donation and if it was before or after her office decided not to join the New York case or initiate one independently. Bribery is a serious federal offense, and the Department of Justice needs to determine if Pam Bondi was paid to look the other way as Trump University was cleared of wrongdoing."
Bondi's comments this morning necessitate a fresh review of the timeline of events.
On August 25, 2013, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that his office would be filing a lawsuit against Trump University alleging fraudulent practices.
On August 29, 2013, the Orlando Sentinel asked Attorney General Bondi’s office whether it was considering joining New York’s lawsuit against Trump University.
On September 9, 2013, Trump Foundation illegally wrote a $25,000 check to Bondi’s political committee And Justice for All, for which it paid a $2,5000 fine to the IRS three years later.
On September 13, 2013, the Orlando Sentinel published a story that “Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's office is reviewing the New York lawsuit's allegations, to determine whether Florida should join the multi-state case.”
On September 17, 2013, Bondi’s political committee deposited Trump’s check.
On October 15, 2013, according to public records received by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Bondi's office stated that “there was no consideration of whether to join [the New York lawsuit]. In light of the fact that the Attorney General’s Office received only one consumer complaint 2.5 years ago, there is no investigation at this time.”
On October 17, 2013, the Miami Herald reported that Jenn Meale, Bondi's spokeswoman, stated that the Attorney General's office would not take action.
On July 29, 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that Donald Trump said during an interview that, "as a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do."
On September 13, 2016, the Democratic Members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch urging the Department of Justice to investigate alleged criminal misconduct, citing multiple federal laws regarding bribery.
Around two dozen complaints were filed by former Trump University students in Florida to the Florida Attorney General’s office, most of which preceded Bondi's term. According to the New York Times, Florida was second in the nation with 950 Trump University transactions and third in the country with national sales of $3.3 million.