Report: Trump Made Illegal Campaign Donation To Florida AG

| by Nik Bonopartis
Florida Attorney General Pam BondiFlorida Attorney General Pam Bondi

Controversial Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi -- best known for feuding with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper over statements she'd made about the gay community -- is once again in the spotlight, this time for allegedly soliciting donations from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in 2013 while she was mulling legal action over the business mogul's doomed Trump University.

Bondi was among several attorneys general in different states weighing allegations against the now-defunct for-profit Trump University -- which promised to teach students courses in real estate and entrepreneurship -- after former students said the program didn't deliver what was promised by instructors and marketing materials.

Among the first to act was New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who filed suit against Trump University, saying its owners violated state law by passing the school off as an accredited university when it was not. Bondi was considering joining Schneiderman's lawsuit, according to reports, when she solicited Trump for donations to her re-election campaign, The Associated Press reported.

Shortly after that, one of Trump's foundations wrote a $25,000 check to "And Justice For All," a PAC supporting Bondi's campaign.

That's when Bondi announced she wasn't going forward with a lawsuit against Trump and wouldn't join Schneiderman's lawsuit, citing insufficient evidence to prosecute the New York real estate mogul, according to the AP.

Attorneys general in 48 other states also declined to bring lawsuits against Trump in relation to Trump University, CNN reported. Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer pointed out that Schneiderman has been a longtime supporter of Trump's opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Nevertheless, the issue resurfaced again in September after Trump's foundation paid a $2,500 fine to the Internal Revenue Service for the donation to Bondi's campaign. The foundation admitted breaking tax laws by making the donation, according to the AP.

The Trump Organization told The Washington Post that the donation "wasn’t done intentionally" and was intended for an unrelated political organization with the same name as Bondi's PAC.

Initially, Bondi declined to comment on the story, according to several news organizations, but on Sept. 6, the Florida attorney general appeared on Fox Business to deny allegations that she'd improperly solicited donations from Trump. She took aim at Clinton, who mentioned the donation during an impromptu press conference aboard her new campaign plane earlier in the week.

"I will not be collateral damage in a presidential campaign, nor will I be a woman bullied by Hillary Clinton," Bondi told the network. "Hillary Clinton will not bully me."

The $25,000 from Trump's foundation wasn't the only support Bondi received from the Republican.

On Sept. 6, The Huffington Post reported that Trump rented Mar-a-Lago, his 126-room mansion in Palm Beach, to Bondi's campaign for a 2013 fundraiser that charged guests $3,000 a plate. Trump charged his own campaign $140,000 to use the property for events, but rented it to Bondi for only $4855.65, the report said.

Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, also donated $500 each to Bondi's re-election campaign, and an additional $125,000 to the Florida GOP, which used some of those funds to help Bondi's campaign.

Sources: CBS News, Associated Press via CBS, CNN, The Huffington Post / Photo credit: Florida Office of the Attorney General

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