When discussing the Trump University case, Don Trump is quick to say that both the Texas and Florida attorneys general dropped their cases against the “school.” It’s Trump’s effort to make it seem that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is prosecuting Trump for political reasons.
The part Trump never mentions? How after Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi dropped the case against Trump, his money found its way to her campaign coffers. It never seemed like a coincidence, and now it seems like a clear case of bribery.
Florida’s attorney general personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump around the same time her office deliberated joining an investigation of alleged fraud at Trump University and its affiliates.
The new disclosure from Attorney General Pam Bondi’s spokesman to the Associated Press on Monday provides additional details around the unusual circumstances of Trump’s $25,000 donation to Bondi. After the money came in, Bondi’s office nixed suing Trump.
That’s a revelation that should both burn another chunk of Trump’s weak alibi for his boiler-room scheme to take money from the elderly and uneducated. And it’s not as if Trump didn’t tell us. The idea that his dollars sway crooked politicians is a frequent part of his stump-tirade.
The timing of the donation by Trump is notable because the now presumptive Republican presidential nominee has said he expected and received favors from politicians to whom he gave money.
Over 60 Florida citizens asked for Bondi’s help in recovering some of the funds taken for them in Trump’s real estate swindle. But apparently none of them was swinging a check as large as Trump’s.
For both Bondi and Trump, this should be a very big deal.
And down in Texas? That’s another ugly story, and not everyone involved is staying quiet.
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton moved to muzzle a former state regulator who says he was ordered in 2010 to drop a fraud investigation into Trump University for political reasons.
Paxton's office issued a cease and desist letter to former Deputy Chief of Consumer Protection John Owens after he made public copies of a 14-page internal summary of the state's case against Donald Trump for scamming millions from students of his now-defunct real estate seminar.
After the Texas case was dropped, Trump cut a fat check to the gubernatorial campaign of then attorney general, now Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
According to the documents provided by Owens, his team sought to sue Trump, his company and several business associates to help recover more than $2.6 million students spent on seminars and materials, plus another $2.8 million in penalties and fees.
That Texas case included charges of false advertising and was considered a very strong case by those involved. But then the $5.4 million settlement was allowed to drop, and a $35,000 check for Abbott’s campaign arrived—a neat bargain on Trump’s part.
Far from serving as examples of how he did nothing wrong with Trump University, the story of what happened with the cases in both Florida and Texas is an example of how Trump did something even more wrong. This isn’t just an example of Trump’s crudeness or ignorance. It’s bribery. It’s a crime.
This should be career-ending for both Bondi and Abbott, if not freedom-ending. That “high crimes” part of high crimes and misdemeanors? This is the very definition of that phrase.
And current Texas AG Ken Paxton who is working to keep this out of the news? The only thing he learned from this is how to do it again.
Paxton faces his own legal trouble. He was indicted last year on three felony fraud charges alleging that he persuaded people to invest in a North Texas tech startup while failing to disclose that he hadn't invested himself but was being paid by the company in stock. Paxton has remained in office while appealing the charges.