By Kody Fairfield
Just ten days after Donald Trump said, “Hillary Clinton is the defender of the corrupt and rigged status quo. The Clintons have spent decades as insiders lining their own pockets and taking care of donors instead of the American people,” it seems that a Trump tax issue is re-opening the idea of a pay for play situation in the state of Florida.
As reported by the The Washington Post, an official at Trump’s company admitted that his boss paid a $2,500 fine to the IRS after violating tax laws with an improper political donation in 2013. More specifically, the donation of $25,000 was given from the Donald J. Trump Foundation (DJTF), to the Attorney General of Florida Pam Bondi.
Now on the surface, this is already an issue, because as a non-profit organization, the foundation is not allowed to give political donations. This is an issue that was caught and reported to the IRS by the liberal watchdog group Citizens For Reform And Ethics In Washington.
Digging into the story deeper, it appears that the optics may be much worse for Trump and Bondi, especially when painted next to the issues of Trump University.
The university, his online real estate training program, had been riddled with fraud charges from across the nation by 2013, the same year the donation of $25,000 was made to Bondi.
The donation came from one of Trump’s charities six days after Bondi’s then-spokeswoman told a reporter their office was “currently reviewing the allegations” against Trump University in a class action lawsuit in New York, according to internal emails that were among more than 8,000 pages of documents originally requested by The Orlando Sentinel and also obtained by CNN.
Adding another black mark to an already bruised situation is the fact that the Bondi campaign admitted that they asked for Trump’s donation. They did push back on the idea of pay for play however, saying “It wasn’t just Donald Trump. She was actively campaigning for re-election and asking for support from friends and supporters.”
All this information then begs the question, of why, after the donation was given, did the investigation into the university disappear?
The Bondi administration tried to quell the idea of an improper relationship by saying, “While there was never an investigation, staff, doing due diligence, reviewed the complaints and the New York litigation and made the proper determination that the New York litigation would provide relief to aggrieved consumers nationwide.”
Now 3 years removed from the incident, Bondi has endorsed Trump for president. She has even been stumping for him in an effort to help his numbers with female voters. This leads to more questions about the donation, and the two’s relationship.
At best, it would seem that the situation was a public relations nightmare, full of awkward coincidences like a mutually-beneficial outcome for both parties. At worst, it was a symbiotic quid pro quo: not far off from the accusations that Donald J. Trump levies at his presidential election rival.