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Florida Dems file election complaint against Donald Trump in Pam Bondi deal

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant filed a complaint Thursday with the Florida Elections Commission charging that Donald Trump violated Florida law with his $25,000 donation to a committee supporting the re-election of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

The complaint does not charge Bondi with any wrongdoing. And it doesn’t delve into the relationship between Trump and Bondi. Rather, it deals with what happened later as the money moved around.

The elections charge against Trump involves his 2013 Trump Foundation’s $25,000 donation to And Justice For All, a now-closed electioneering communications organization. The donation came as Bondi’s office was reviewing complaints against his Trump University. Bondi’s office decided not to investigate the complaints or join a lawsuit pursued by New York’s attorney general.

Democrats have characterized the donation as a bribe from Trump to Bondi to dissuade any investigation of Trump University. Trump and Bondi have both denied it.

Tant’s complaint doesn’t go there at all, though she references it in a press release accompanying a copy of the complaint.

Rather, the formal complaint delves into the complex financial shufflings that followed, involving And Justice For All; the political action committee that succeed it, Justice For All; the Trump Foundation; and Trump himself. Essentially, it charges that the $25,000 was moved around between funds, ultimately illegally.

“As previously reported, Pam Bondi personally solicited Trump for a donation. The Trump Foundation then donated $25,000 to Pam Bondi in violation of IRS code. When Bondi attempted to return the donation, the Foundation refused to accept the check. Trump then personally reimbursed the Donald J. Trump Foundation $25,000 in violation of Section 106.08(5)(a), Florida Statutes,” the Florida Dems’ press release states.

“Donald Trump’s record of using his foundation to exert his political will, as well as [the] purchase of six-foot portraits of himself, is well-established,” Tant stated in the release. “Unfortunately for the ‘law and order’ candidate, reimbursing his foundation for a $25,000 illegal donation to Pam Bondi is in violation of Florida elections law prohibiting donors from giving contributions in the name of another entity. While a full inquiry by the Department of Justice is needed, we are hopeful the Florida Elections Commission will do its part to hold Trump accountable for his flagrant disregard of the law.”

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]

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