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Pam Bondi on Donald Trump contribution: “I’ve done nothing wrong”

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Attorney General Pam Bondi on Tuesday declined to say whether she’d return a $25,000 political contribution made in error to her by Donald Trump‘s charitable foundation three years ago, but told reporters she did “nothing wrong.”

Bondi took questions after Tuesday’s Florida Cabinet meeting.

She also wouldn’t clarify who requested the contribution, which went to a now-defunct political fundraising panel that supported her 2014 re-election. Bondi, a Republican, is now supporting Trump, the GOP presidential front-runner.

Foundations like Trump’s are banned under federal rules from political activity, including giving contributions. Trump’s representatives since have said the $25,000 check went out by mistake when an accounting clerk confused Bondi’s electioneering communications organization with a similarly-named group.

The donation became news when Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, recently filed a complaint against Trump’s foundation, saying it violated its tax-exempt status for making the contribution.

On Tuesday, Bondi said “of course not” when asked whether she knew the donation was a violation of IRS rules. “The error was on their end and they’re correcting it,” she said.

Bondi did not say if she had decided to refund the money to the foundation: “I’m going to let the accountants correct it.”

When asked to clarify reports that she had solicited the donation, causing the confusion, she responded, “I haven’t heard that at all … I’m going to let the accountants handle this. I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Allen Weisselberg, the Trump foundation treasurer, told the Washington Post last week that a “check got cut, and after that, I don’t know exactly where it ended up.”

“It must have gone, I guess, to Pam Bondi,” he said. “We spoke to our accountants, our tax attorneys in Washington, and they say these things happen all the time.”

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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