When Pam Bondi first called Donald Trump to personally request a contribution to her re-election campaign, Trump didn’t immediately respond. But when word came out that Florida was considering joining the lawsuit against Trump University, Trump quickly—and illegally—funneled $25,000 through the Trump Foundation and got it to Bondi pronto. Florida walked away from the lawsuit.
But Trump’s favors to Bondi didn’t end with opening his own checkbook. He also opened the doors of his most famous property.
In March 2014, Donald Trump opened his 126-room Palm Beach resort, Mar-a-Lago, for a $3,000-per-person fundraiser for Pam Bondi. The Florida attorney general, who was facing a tough re-election campaign, had recently decided not to investigate Trump University. ...
Since he began his run for the White House, Trump has repeatedly claimed that Bondi is merely someone he has supported politically. But his fundraising efforts for her were extensive and varied: In addition to the $25,000 donation from his foundation and the star-studded Mar-a-Lago event, Trump and his daughter Ivanka each gave $500 to Bondi’s campaign in the fall of 2013. The following spring, Ivanka and her father donated another $125,000 to the Republican Party of Florida ― Bondi’s single biggest source of campaign funds.
When Trump “rented” that same space for his campaign, he billed his own presidential election some $140,000. But when Pam Bondi was having her fundraiser, Mar-a-Lago came with a price tag of just $4,856. That’s a 97 percent discount for Bondi. Quite the deal from Mr. I-Make-Tough-Deals.
So Pam Bondi got $25,000 directly from Trump, an even bigger check from Ivanka, more checks from both Trump and Ivanka, and a big money fundraiser at Trump’s expense. What did the people of Florida get?
Florida resident Kenneth Lafrate claims that the Trump Institute scammed him out of roughly $7,000, most of which paid for a mentoring program. He said he spoke to a mentor online “for a number of months,” until the mentor abruptly stopped answering messages. Lafrate contacted the Florida attorney general’s office as early as 2008 but said he did not receive a response. When he later learned of Trump’s connection to Bondi through news reports, he stopped expecting to get an answer.