Trump’s Florida problem just got a lot bigger. By now, it’s well-known that Attorney General Pam Bondi received a $25,000 political contribution from Donald Trump just before she refused to pursue a case against Trump University, but did you know that she personally solicited that
The donation itself was illegal because it came from the Trump Foundation — the 2016 GOP nominee’s Foundation was recently fined $2,500 for the illegal 2013 contribution — but there is more to the story. The Associated Press reports that Bondi herself solicited the bribe as her office was determining whether to move forward with the case. After Trump dropped a pile of money on the problem, Bondi’s office cited insufficient grounds to proceed and dropped the suit. The AP notes that:
Bondi declined repeated requests for an interview on Monday, referring all questions to Marc Reichelderfer, a political consultant who worked for her most re-election effort.
Reichelderfer told AP that Bondi spoke with Trump “several weeks” before her office publicly announced it was deliberating whether to join a lawsuit proposed by New York’s Democratic attorney general. Reichelfelder said that Bondi was unaware of dozens of consumer complaints received by her office about Trump’s real-estate seminars at the time she requested the donation.
“The process took at least several weeks, from the time they spoke to the time they received the contribution,” Reichelderfer told the AP.
Trump has said many times that he traditionally receives favors in exchange for political contributions, and the timing would absolutely suggest that the dropping of the Trump University suit was the favor he received in exchange for throwing $25,000 at one of his GOP friends.
Will Trump face any criminal penalties for bribing a public official? Only time will tell — but he absolutely should.
Featured image via Getty Images/Alex Wong