Pam Bondi

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Pam Bondi
Bondi bio photo crop.jpg
37th Attorney General of Florida
In office
January 4, 2011 – January 8, 2019
GovernorRick Scott
Preceded byBill McCollum
Succeeded byAshley Moody
Personal details
Born
Pamela Jo Bondi

(1965-11-17) November 17, 1965 (age 55)
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Garret Barnes
(m. 1990; div. 1992)

Scott Fitzgerald
(m. 1996; div. 2002)
EducationUniversity of Florida (BA)
Stetson University (JD)

Pamela Jo Bondi (born November 17, 1965) is an American attorney, lobbyist and politician. A Republican, she served as the 37th Florida Attorney General from 2011 to 2019.

Early life[edit]

Bondi's hometown is Temple Terrace, Florida. Her father, Joseph Bondi, was a city council member and then Mayor of Temple Terrace. She is a graduate of C. Leon King High School in Tampa. Bondi graduated from the University of Florida in 1987 with a degree in Criminal Justice and was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority.[1] She earned a JD from Stetson Law School in 1990 and was admitted to the Florida Bar on June 24, 1991.[2]

Career[edit]

Bondi acted as a prosecutor and spokeswoman in Hillsborough County, Florida, where she was an Assistant State Attorney. Bondi resigned this position to seek the office of Attorney General of Florida. She has made guest appearances on Scarborough Country with Joe Scarborough and various other cable news programming on MSNBC and worked for Fox News as a guest host.[3]

Bondi prosecuted former Major League Baseball player Dwight Gooden in 2006 for violating the terms of his probation and for substance abuse.[4][5] In 2007, Bondi also prosecuted the defendants in Martin Anderson's death.[6]

Attorney General[edit]

In 2010, Bondi defeated Democratic State Senator Dan Gelber by a 55% to 41% margin to become the first female Attorney General of the State of Florida.[7]

Bondi was the lead attorney general in an unsuccessful lawsuit seeking to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, or "Obamacare") in Florida et al v. United States Department of Health and Human Services. In the lawsuit the State of Florida and 26 other states argued that the individual mandate provision of the ACA violates the United States Constitution.[8] In 2018, Bondi joined with 19 other Republican-led states in a lawsuit to overturn the ACA's bans on health insurance companies charging people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums or denying them coverage outright.[9]

In 2013, Bondi persuaded Governor Rick Scott to postpone a scheduled execution because it conflicted with her reelection kickoff/fundraising event.[10] After questions were raised in the media, Bondi apologized for moving the execution date.[11][12]

Bondi was re-elected in November 2014, receiving 55% of the vote. Her challenger, state Representative George Sheldon received 42%.[13]

Bondi opposed same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights issues on behalf of the state. Following the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting in June 2016, Bondi was interviewed by CNN reporter Anderson Cooper, who questioned her about her sudden change in attitude towards the LGBT community in Florida. Bondi claimed to not only support the gay community, but had posted as such on her website. Bondi in a radio interview stated that the CNN interview had not been aired in its entirety and most of it was left on the cutting room floor, omitting the portion about potential scamming of survivors' families. While the entire interview had been aired live, only the portion involving Bondi's position on LGBT issues was originally uploaded to the CNN website. The website featured the interview in its entirety following this comment.[14][15][16] In 2017, she opposed O. J. Simpson's return to her state for serving his parole for his robbery and kidnapping convictions that occurred in Nevada in 2008.

In August 2018, while still serving as Attorney General, Bondi co-hosted Fox News' The Five three days in a row while also appearing on Sean Hannity's Fox News show.[17] Fox News claimed that the Florida Commission on Ethics had approved Bondi's appearance on the program; however the commission's spokeswoman denied that, telling the Tampa Bay Times that "no opinion was rendered" and that the commission's general counsel "did not express a view as to whether [Bondi's proposed hosting of the Fox shows] would or would not violate the Code of Ethics". The Tampa Bay Times described it as "unprecedented" for a sitting elected official to host a TV show.[17]

Fundraising controversies[edit]

Beginning in 2010, Bondi's association with Scientology and the multiple fundraisers that wealthy Scientologists have organized for Bondi's political campaigns have provoked controversy. Bondi has justified those contacts and her speeches before leading Scientologists by arguing that the group wishes to help her crack down on human trafficking.[18][19][20]

In 2011, Bondi also pressured two attorneys to resign who were investigating the technology giant Black Knight, then LPS, following the robosigning scandal, as part of their work for Florida's Economic Crime Division, after she received large campaign contributions from LPS.[21]

Bondi was also criticized for some contributions received from Donald Trump and his associates.[22] By 2013, Bondi had received at least 22 fraud complaints about Trump University. A spokesperson for Bondi announced that her office was considering joining a lawsuit initiated by the New York Attorney General against Trump regarding tax fraud.[23][24] Four days later, however, a political action committee tied to Bondi, And Justice for All, received a $25,000 donation from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, after which Bondi declined to join the lawsuit against Trump University. When controversy over this first arose later in 2013, both Bondi and Trump defended the propriety of the nonprofit foundation's political donation.[25][26]

In 2016, after Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service regarding the 2013 Trump donation, the Trump Foundation stated that the donation had been made in error. It said that the Foundation had intended for the donation to go not to Bondi's PAC, but instead to an unrelated Kansas non-profit called Justice for All.[27][28] However, in June 2016, as Bondi was facing renewed criticism over the Trump donation and her decision not to join the lawsuit, her spokesman said that Bondi had solicited the donation directly from Trump several weeks before her office announced it was considering joining the lawsuit against him.[24][29] On March 14, 2016, Bondi endorsed Trump in the 2016 Florida Republican presidential primary, saying she has been friends with Trump for many years.[30][31] In June 2016, a spokesperson for Governor Rick Scott stated that the state's ethics commission is looking into the matter, though nothing further came from the investigation.[32]

In September 2016, the IRS determined that the donation to Bondi's PAC violated laws against political contributions from nonprofit organizations, and ordered Trump to pay a fine for the contribution. Trump also was required to reimburse the foundation for the sum that had been donated to Bondi.[33] Neither Bondi nor her PAC were fined or criminally charged. In November 2019, Trump was ordered by a New York state court to close down the foundation and pay $2 million in damages for misusing it, including the illegal payment to Bondi.[34]

Association with Donald Trump[edit]

In 2016, Bondi gave a speech at the Republican National Convention during which she led "Lock Her Up" chants directed at the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.[35] In 2019, after her final term as attorney general, Bondi was hired by Ballard Partners, a firm with close ties to Trump, and she began working as a registered lobbyist for Qatar. In November 2019, she was hired by the Trump administration to help the White House during Trump's impeachment proceedings, being given the "special government employee" status, allowing Bondi to continue working for the Arab lobby.[36][37][38] Her position was described the following month as being to "attack the process" of the impeachment inquiry.[39] On January 17, 2020, Bondi was named as part of Trump's defense team for the Senate impeachment trial.[40]

During the course of the impeachment trial, Bondi made debunked[41] allegations that former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden were involved in corruption in Ukraine, stemming from Hunter Biden's position on board of Burisma Holdings. It was also revealed that Lev Parnas, a businessman with close ties to Rudy Giuliani and Ukraine, had several meetings with Bondi in 2018 while she was the Florida Attorney General, and in 2019.[42][43] In 2019, Parnas was arrested and accused of illegally funneling foreign money from Ukrainians and Russians to Republican politicians, particularly in Florida, where he lived.[44][45][46][47]

Bondi spoke in support of Trump at the 2020 Republican National Convention.[48][49]

While ballots were being counted in the 2020 United States presidential election, Bondi supported Trump's claims that there was large-scale voter fraud in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.[50][51] In an appearance on Fox News on November 5, 2020, host Steve Doocy challenged Bondi's to provide evidence for her claims of fraud, to which she refused.[52] Bondi later claimed that Trump had won Pennsylvania, despite votes there still being counted, with his opponent Joe Biden ultimately winning the state.[51]

Personal life[edit]

Bondi married Garret Barnes in 1990; the couple divorced after 22 months of marriage. In 1996, Bondi married Scott Fitzgerald; they divorced in 2002. She was engaged to marry 62-year-old ophthalmologist Greg Henderson in 2012. [53]

Electoral history[edit]

2010 Florida Attorney General election, Republican primary[54]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Pam Bondi 459,022 37.89% N/A
Republican Jeff Kottkamp 397,781 32.84% N/A
Republican Holly Benson 354,573 29.27% N/A
Majority 61,241 5.05% N/A
Turnout 1,211,376
2010 Florida Attorney General election, General election[55]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Pam Bondi 2,882,868 54.77% +2.08%
Democratic Dan Gelber 2,181,377 41.44% -5.87%
Independent Jim Lewis 199,147 3.78% N/A
Majority 701,491 13.33% +7.95%
Turnout 5,263,392
2014 Florida Attorney General election, General election[56]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Pam Bondi 3,222,524 55.09% +0.32%
Democratic George Sheldon 2,457,357 42.01% +0.57%
Libertarian Bill Wohlsifer 169,394 2.90% N/A
Majority 765,207 13.08% -0.25%
Turnout 5,849,235

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Legally Bondi | Business Observer". Business Observer. November 5, 2010. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  2. ^ "Lawyer info-Pam Bondi" Florida Bar, Find a Lawyer
  3. ^ Kam, Dara. "Early on, Florida attorney general Pam Bondi shows ambition". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  4. ^ "Dwight Gooden chooses prison over rehab". Red Orbit. April 5, 2006. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
  5. ^ "Attorney General Pam Bondi juggles home life, sudden celebrity". Orlando Sentinel. August 8, 2011. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
  6. ^ "Martin Lee Anderson Death Case Goes to Trial Wednesday". WJHG. October 4, 2007. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
  7. ^ "November 2, 2010 General Election". Doe.dos.state.fl.us. Archived from the original on November 15, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  8. ^ Bolstad, Erika (March 28, 2012). "Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi front and center in fight against health care law". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  9. ^ Leary, Alex. "Pre-existing conditions latest flashpoint in Nelson-Scott battle". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  10. ^ Smith, Adam C. (September 9, 2013). "Execution rescheduled to accommodate Pam Bondi fundraiser". Tampa Bay Times.
  11. ^ Rosica, James L. (September 25, 2016). "Bondi apologizes for having execution moved". Tampa Tribune.
  12. ^ "Attorney General Pam Bondi apologizes for delaying execution: Pam Bondi delayed an execution to go to a campaign fundraiser". Associated Press. September 24, 2013.
  13. ^ Staff (November 5, 2014). "2014 Florida election results: Rick Scott wins, medical marijuana falls short". Orlando Business Journal. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
  14. ^ Wilstein, Matt (June 15, 2016). "Anderson Cooper: Florida AG Pam Bondi Either 'Mistaken or Not Telling the Truth'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  15. ^ Peters, Jeremy W.; Alvarez, Lizette (June 15, 2016). "After Orlando, a Political Divide on Gay Rights Still Stands". New York Times. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  16. ^ Ducassi, Daniel; Caputo, Marc (June 14, 2016). "Bondi says she's not being hypocritical toward LGBT community". Politico. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  17. ^ a b Contorno, Steve. "Is Pam Bondi auditioning for Fox News while still working for Florida taxpayers?". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  18. ^ Childs, Joe (June 30, 2014). "Pam Bondi's Clearwater fundraiser organized by Scientologists". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  19. ^ Auslen, Michael (September 6, 2016). "Pam Bondi to speak before group with ties to Scientology". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  20. ^ Bleyer, Jim (October 6, 2016). "Donald Trump, Pam Bondi, and the Church of Scientology". Tampa Bay Beat. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  21. ^ "Political notebook: Pam Bondi under fire after LPS-related resignations".
  22. ^ "Trump contribution to Pam Bondi's re-election draws more scrutiny to her fundraising". Tampa Bay Times. October 17, 2013. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  23. ^ "Trump's $25K to A.G. Bondi merits probe". Orlando Sentinel. April 2, 2016. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  24. ^ a b "Trump contribution to Pam Bondi's re-election draws more scrutiny to her fundraising". Tampa Bay Times. October 17, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  25. ^ "Trump camp says $25,000 charity contribution to Florida AG was a mistake". Washington Post. March 22, 2016. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  26. ^ Bookbinder, Noah (May 17, 2016). "Column: The Trump tax filings we've seen highlight the need to see more". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  27. ^ "CREW files complaint against Trump Foundation". CREW. March 21, 2016. Archived from the original on May 30, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  28. ^ "Florida AG Personally Asked For Donation Before Declining Lawsuit Against Trump University". Brevard Times. June 7, 2016. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  29. ^ Horwitz, Jeff; Fineout, Gary; Biesecker, Michael (June 6, 2016). "Florida AG asked Trump for donation before nixing fraud case". Associated Press. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  30. ^ "Old questions resurface as Attorney General Pam Bondi endorses Trump". Miami Herald. March 14, 2016. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  31. ^ "Trump University model: Sell hard, demand to see a warrant". Associated Press. June 2, 2016. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  32. ^ "Gov. Rick Scott: Calls To Investigate Bondi Are Partisan Politics - Local News - 90.7 WMFE". Wmfe.org. June 10, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  33. ^ Fahrenthold, David A. (September 1, 2016). "Trump pays IRS a penalty for his foundation violating rules with gift to aid Florida attorney general". Washington Post.
  34. ^ Fahrenthold, David A. (December 10, 2019). "Trump pays $2 million in damages ordered by judge over misuse of charity funds, according to NY attorney general". Washington Post.
  35. ^ Lavender, Paige (July 20, 2016). "Florida Attorney General To Anti-Clinton RNC Crowd: 'Lock Her Up'". HuffPost. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  36. ^ Benen, Steve (November 7, 2019). "Despite earlier controversy, Pam Bondi joining Team Trump". MSNBC. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  37. ^ Ianelli, Jerry (November 6, 2019). "Ex-Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to Reportedly Join Trump White House". Miami New Times. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  38. ^ Friedman, Dan (November 6, 2019). "Donald Trump, Pam Bondi dives into the Swamp". Mother Jones. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  39. ^ Rogers, Katie (December 11, 2019). "Movie Nights, Camp David and Cable Messaging: A White House Impeachment Playbook". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  40. ^ "Former Florida AG Pam Bondi named to Trump's impeachment defense team". News 4 JAX. News Service of Florida. January 17, 2020.
  41. ^ Collins, Sean (September 23, 2019). "The facts behind Trump's bogus accusations about Biden and Ukraine". Vox. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  42. ^ "Trump's team dismisses the case for impeachment as weak — and then sloppily attacks Joe Biden". Washington Post. January 27, 2020.
  43. ^ "Picture of Pam Bondi and Lev Parnas emerges after she joins Trump impeachment defense". Tampa Bay Times. January 17, 2020.
  44. ^ "Two business associates of Trump's personal attorney Giuliani have been arrested on campaign finance charges". Washington Post. October 10, 2019.
  45. ^ "Donald Trump and Lev Parnas discussed Rick Scott in secret recording". Tampa Bay Times. January 28, 2020.
  46. ^ "Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won't talk about texts with donor indicted for foreign influence of U.S. elections". Orlando Weekly. January 14, 2020.
  47. ^ "Lev Parnas Paid His Way Into Donald Trump's Orbit". Tampa Bay Times. January 19, 2020.
  48. ^ "Trump campaign unveils convention speakers, POTUS to speak every night". Fox News. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  49. ^ Wilson, Kirby (August 25, 2020). "Pam Bondi, at RNC: Joe Biden only in politics to enrich his family". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  50. ^ "Pam Bondi Hypes 'Fake Ballots,' 'Evidence of Cheating' in Pennsylvania Vote". Mediaite. November 5, 2020. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  51. ^ a b "Pam Bondi throws herself into Trump effort to stop counting votes". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  52. ^ Hsu, Tiffany; Koblin, John (November 7, 2020). "Fox News Meets Trump's Fraud Claims With Skepticism". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  53. ^ Mitchell, Tia (May 30, 2012). "Attorney General Pam Bondi's Cayman trip wasn't a wedding; many wonder why". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  54. ^ "August 24, 2010 Primary Election Republican Primary". Florida Department of State. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  55. ^ "November 2, 2010 General Election". Florida Department of State. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  56. ^ "November 4, 2014 General Election". Florida Department of State. Retrieved October 12, 2020.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Bill McCollum
Attorney General of Florida
2011–2019
Succeeded by
Ashley Moody