King of Hearts: Election Denier Pam Bondi, Candidate Trump’s choice for Attorney General.



Nov. 2010: Bondi successfully runs for Florida Attorney General in the 2010 election, notably receiving the support of former Governor of Alaska Sarah PalinThe Palm Beach Post credited her surge in support in the primary to her media-savviness, including regular appearances on Fox News and her public association with Sean Hannity.

Sept. 2013: Bondi, as Florida attorney general, drops probe into Trump University days following $25,000 donation from the future president. Brian Ballard, Mr. Trump’s lobbyist in Florida, saying it was “ridiculous” to think his client sought to buy off Ms. Bondi

July 2016: Bondi gives a speech at the Republican National Convention, during which she led “Lock her up” chants directed at the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.[39]

2010- 2018: As Florida Attorney General:

  • Bondi was “a staunch defender of the [Florida Gov.] Rick Scott doctrine that ex-felons should grovel for the right to vote after paying their debt to society. (Sixty-five percent of Florida’s voters set her and the governor straight in November 2018.)”
  • Bondi was the lead attorney general in an unsuccessful lawsuit seeking to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (known as 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.[11]
  • 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.[12]
  • 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 said that Bondi’s expression of support for the LGBT community was at odds with her past record.[13][14][15] Cooper said that Bondi was “either mistaken or not telling the truth,” while Bondi accused Cooper of fomenting “anger and hate.”[13]
  • In August 2018, while still serving as Florida Attorney General, Bondi co-hosted The Five on Fox News three days in a row while also appearing on Sean Hannity‘s Fox News show.[16] Fox News claimed that the Florida Commission on Ethics had approved Bondi’s appearance on the program; however, spokeswoman for the commission denied that, telling the Tampa Bay Times that no decision was made by the commission and that the commission’s general counsel did not make a determination whether or not Bondi’s appearance as a host violated the Florida Code of Ethics. The Tampa Bay Times described it as “unprecedented” for a sitting elected official to host a TV show.[16]

Nov. 2018: President Trump said he wanted Bondi to join his administration.

Jan. 2019: Bondi  joins a Washington, D.C lobbying firm. head by Brian Ballard who has close ties to President Trump.

Nov. 2019: Bondi hired by the Trump administration to help the White House during Trump’s first impeachment proceedings, being given special Government employee status, allowing Bondi to continue working for the Arab lobby.[40][41][42] Her position was described the following month as being to “attack the process” of the impeachment inquiry.[43]

Jan. 2020: Bondi named as part of Trump’s defense team for the Senate impeachment trial.

Aug. 2020: Bondi speaks in support of Trump at the 2020 Republican National Convention.[52][53]

Nov. 2020: “We’ve won Pennsylvania,” Bondi asserted. Trump’s campaign did not win Pennsylvania.

Sept. 2021: A shakeup in Trumpworld led to former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi taking charge of the pro-Trump super PAC

Nov. 2023: Bondi to lead new state chapter of new America First Policy Institute


Professing total fealty to Trump since the day of a $25,000 pay-off  and going forward . . .

Bondi to lead new state chapter of new America First Policy Institute Geggis

November 22, 2023

Some well-known names in state politics are going to be leading the new state chapter of the America First Policy Institute (AFPI).

Former State Attorney General Pam Bondi will be the Chair of the state branch of the national think tank based near Washington. It started in 2021, founded by former officials with Donald Trump’s administration to further promulgate “America First” values.

The AFPI bills itself as a “non-partisan research center” but it’s led by a host of senior leaders from the Trump presidency.

Bondi succeeded Corey Lewandowski as the head of Trump’s super PAC, Make America Great Again, two years ago after a donor accused Lewandowski of making unwanted sexual advances. Bondi has also appeared frequently as a Trump surrogate. 


Pam Bondi: Trump is ‘in the right,’ will win case over classified documents

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi calls out the indictment charges against Donald Trump and says Florida would offer a more fair trial


Bondi is back, with new role in Trumpworld



A shakeup in Trumpworld has led to former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi taking charge of the pro-Trump super PAC, Make America Great Again Action. Bondi is replacing Corey Lewandowski, following allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances toward a major Trump donor. Bondi is considered a steadfast loyalist of Trump and briefly worked at the White House after she left office. Even with the new role, she will remain a partner in the D.C. offices of Ballard Partners.


New Trump super PAC formed after accusations of misconduct



New Trump super PAC formed after accusations of misconduct

Allies of former President Trump have launched a new super PAC after Corey Lewandowski was removed as the head of another pro-Trump super PAC following allegations of sexual misconduct. 

The new group, dubbed Make America Great Again, Again, will be led by former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a longtime ally of the former president. Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Trump campaign official and the girlfriend of Trump’s oldest son Donald Trump Jr., will serve as the super PAC’s national finance chair.

The super PAC will back candidates endorsed by Trump who “have proven to be fighters of the MAGA movement,” the group said in a statement announcing its formation, using the acronym for Trump’s campaign slogan “make America great again.”

“We look forward to building on the success of MAGA Action with our new committee, Make America Great Again, Again!” Bondi said. “We are thrilled to continue to support America First candidates in the midterms and beyond.”

[Boldface added]


Trump selects Hicks, Bondi, Grenell and other allies for positions



President Trump selected an array of allies for government positions as he prepares to leave the White House.

The White House announced in a press release Tuesday that Hope Hicks, a longtime aide and one of his most trusted confidantes, would be a member of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship board. Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general and another close ally, will also sit on the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell will be a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, and Stephanie Grisham, a former White House communications director and first lady Melania Trump’s current chief of staff, will sit on the board of directors of the National Board for Education Sciences.


Pam Bondi throws herself into Trump effort to stop counting votes

“We’ve won Pennsylvania,” Bondi asserted Wednesday. Trump’s campaign has not won Pennsylvania.

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center where votes are being counted, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia, following Tuesday’s election. Beside her, right, is President Donald Trump’s campaign advisor Corey Lewandowski. 


By Kirby WilsonTimes staff

Published Nov. 5, 2020|Updated Nov. 6, 2020

TALLAHASSEE — One of the central players in President Donald Trump’s effort to sow doubt in the American election system used to be Florida’s top law enforcement official.

Pam Bondi, who served as attorney general from 2011 until 2019, has been an outspoken figure in Trump’s push to de-legitimize the vote counting in Pennsylvania. At a Wednesday news conference in Philadelphia, Bondi appeared alongside Trump lawyer and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to decry what they said was voter fraud.

“We’ve won Pennsylvania, and we want every vote to be counted in a fair way,” Bondi, a Republican, told reporters. The first half of what the former attorney general said is false: Trump, the Republican candidate, may still win Pennsylvania, but he has not yet.

Bondi, a Temple Terrace native and former assistant state attorney in Hillsborough County, grew close to Trump after she became attorney general. In 2013, the then-businessman sent Bondi’s political committee a $25,000 donation from the Donald J. Trump foundation, his charity. The contribution was made after her office started getting legal complaints about Trump’s line of educational seminars. While the New York attorney general pursued charges, Bondi’s office chose not to. Both Trump and Bondi have denied the donation was improper, but Trump later paid a $2,500 penalty to the Internal Revenue Service in 2016 and refunded his foundation $25,000 from his personal account because the contribution violated tax laws. In 2018, he closed down the foundation.

A prominent Trump surrogate during his impeachment battle last year, Bondi, 54, gave a blistering speech at the Republican National Convention attacking Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden for his alleged nepotism.

Claims from Bondi, Giuliani and Trump of wide scale fraud in Pennsylvania have come as the president’s margin over Biden in the state has dwindled in recent days. There is no evidence of fraud. Experts have long expected the votes counted last in Pennsylvania to be Democratic-leaning because of the order in which the state counts mail-in ballots. In this election, which was conducted amid a pandemic, millions more Democrats than Republicans chose to vote by mail.

The Keystone State, which is worth 20 electoral college votes, is crucial to Trump’s re-election hopes. If the president loses there, Biden would clinch a majority of electoral college votes, putting him in line for the presidency.

Outside of unspecific claims of fraud, Bondi’s core complaint about Pennsylvania voting has had to do with the Trump campaign’s right to observe the count. In a lawsuit heard by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, the Trump team argued campaign officials have not been able to witness the official processing of ballots at the Philadelphia Convention Center from a close enough distance. (Philadelphia is a Democratic stronghold.)

Philadelphia County election officials argued in court that they needed substantial space to do the work of counting hundreds of thousands of ballots during a pandemic. That’s why campaign observers have had to watch the vote-counting from a distance of several yards away, the officials said. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party filed a brief in support of this argument.

On Thursday, Bondi’s team won a victory before that court when Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon reversed a lower court decision and allowed campaign representatives to witness the vote counting from six feet away.

During a Thursday appearance on Fox News’ Fox and Friends program, Bondi said the campaign’s previous inability to closely observe the ballot counting made the environment ripe for fraud. She did not provide evidence.

“For every vote that came in late, that was postmarked late…that discounts every legal vote that came in,” Bondi said. “That means the good residents who are all supporting us in Pennsylvania, their votes don’t count by these fake ballots that are coming in late…They’re not letting us watch the process.”

“Pam, did you just say ‘fake ballots?’” the program’s host, Steve Doocy, then asked.

“There could be. That’s the problem. If they’re letting — we don’t know, Steve,” Bondi said.

So far, there have been no reports of late or fake ballots being counted in Pennsylvania. In part because of a split 4-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, Pennsylvania will count votes that arrive up to three days after Election Day, but were postmarked by Nov. 3.

Regardless, election experts say it would be extraordinarily difficult to pull off the kind of widespread fraud being alleged by Bondi and the Trump team — particularly in a state as large as Pennsylvania.

“I don’t think that there are voter fraud conspiracies that involve 10,000 voters,” said Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a professor of law at Stetson University College of Law.

Torres-Spelliscy noted that voter fraud of any kind is extraordinarily rare. The proximity of campaign representatives to the actual votes being tallied wouldn’t do much to change that reality, she said.

“Because you’re looking for something that doesn’t exist, I’m not sure it really matters how excruciatingly close you are to another person,” the law professor said.

Still, Trump’s team asked the court to order Philadelphia officials to set aside “all envelopes and other ballot materials” that have been a part of the count so far so the Trump campaign can have the chance to see whether election procedure has been followed. In her opinion, Cannon, the judge, noted that campaigns do not have the right to challenge individual ballots as they are being counted. For now, campaigns may only observe the process.

Trump has been casting doubt on Philadelphia procedures for months. At the first presidential debate against Biden in September, Trump said Republican poll watchers had been “thrown out” of a polling place in Philadelphia on the first day of in-person early voting. According to state law, poll watchers in Pennsylvania are only active on Election Day, per PolitiFact.

The controversy was also, as the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, avoidable. Because of a partisan stalemate between the state’s GOP-controlled state Legislature and the Democratic governor, Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania never changed its laws to allow for the pre-Election Day counting of mail-in ballots. Now those overwhelmingly blue votes are being counted last, giving Biden the appearance of a comeback. In reality, he may never have trailed.

Bondi couldn’t be reached for this story.


Pam Bondi hits Biden over nepotism minutes before two of Trump’s children speak at RNC

August 26, 2020

Ms Bondi, as Florida attorney general, dropped probe into Trump University following $25,000 donation from the future president

John T. Bennett

August 26, 2020


Former AG Bondi to join DC lobbying firm

The Associated Press

Jan. 22, 2019

TALLAHASSEE — Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is heading to Washington to take a new post with a leading lobbying firm.

Ballard Partners announced Tuesday the well-known Republican politician will head the firm’s new regulatory compliance office. The firm is headed by Brian Ballard, who has close ties to President Donald Trump.

The news was first reported by Politico.

Bondi left office earlier this month after serving two terms as attorney general.

President Trump said in November he wanted Bondi to join his administration. 


New Records Shed Light on Donald Trump’s $25,000 Gift to Florida Official

By Kevin Sack and Steve Eder


Pam Bondi’s time as attorney general marked by missteps and missed opportunity | Editorial

John McCall / Sun Sentinel

December 28, 2018

Pam Bondi’s time as attorney general marked by missteps and missed opportunity | Editorial

Pam Bondi’s time as Florida attorney general is coming to a close, and not a moment too soon.

What a disappointment she’s been. First elected in 2010, Bondi was a tough-talking Tampa prosecutor and a fresh face on the scene.

She quickly revealed herself as a pure partisan, a quality that’s especially unseemly for an attorney general whose job is to seek justice, not political advantage.

Let’s review some of the lowlights (in no particular order):

Bondi asked the governor to postpone a man’s execution so it wouldn’t fall on the night of a campaign event at her waterfront home in Tampa. Scott obliged.

Her office kept appealing a federal judge’s ruling that Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage was illegal, until the Supreme Court finally put the matter to rest. As a parting shot, she fought against paying legal fees of the gay couples who had sued for the right to get married.

She joined with other attorneys general to fight against clean water and clean air measures. In one instance, she jumped into a legal fight that opposed efforts to clean up Chesapeake Bay.

She was a staunch defender of the Rick Scott doctrine that ex-felons should grovel for the right to vote after paying their debt to society. (Sixty-five percent of Florida’s voters set her and the governor straight in November.)

Bondi accepted some $51,000 in travel freebies from the Republican Attorneys General Association, which got its money from corporate sponsors.

Early in her tenure, Bondi’s office forced out two top-notch investigators who had won praise for going after companies that were fraudulently foreclosing on homeowners.

Bondi wasted taxpayers’ time and money by trying to defend the state’s ban on smoking medical marijuana.

As her office was reviewing complaints about getting scammed by Trump University, Bondi’s campaign cashed a $25,000 check from Donald Trump, then did nothing about the complaints.

There’s more, but space is limited.

One of the themes that emerges is Bondi’s lack of judgment by using her office’s resources to eagerly jump into cultural and political wars, as the examples above illustrate.

And make no mistake, Bondi is a political creature. She made countless appearances on various Fox News shows, including a stint where she abandoned her duties as attorney general for three days so she could co-host a Fox show called “The Five.”

Even when she was right, she was too often late to the game.

For example, Bondi and the rest of the Florida Cabinet for years ignored the injustice of the Groveland Four, a group of young black men wrongly accused of raping a young white woman in 1949. The Cabinet could have pardoned the men anytime, including at its last meeting earlier this month. They did nothing, and Bondi left the meeting without taking any questions about a pardon.

After that meeting, Bondi asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to review the case. Great, but why the delay? Why punt? This should have been easy, especially for a statewide official who is elected specifically to administer justice.

Bondi also waited too long to launch in investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic priests, acting in October but only after a bombshell report by a Pennsylvania grand jury. Sexual abuse by priests hasn’t exactly been a hidden problem.

Bondi’s signature accomplishment will be her focus on opioid abuse, specifically her efforts to halt the widespread dispensing of drugs through “pill mills.” It’s clear she felt passionately about the problem and worked hard to fight it, but why does that stand so alone at the end of an eight-year run?

Which brings us to newly elected Attorney General Ashley Moody, who will take office in early January. Like Bondi, she hails from Tampa and her family has deep roots in Florida. Also like Bondi, Moody got degrees from the University of Florida and Stetson Law, and she’s a fairly fresh face on the statewide political scene.

We hope the comparisons end there. We hope Moody will exercise sound judgment, stay out of political fights and keep a sharp focus on justice for all of Florida’s more than 21 million residents.

Unlike her predecessor.


Sept. 14, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — It was Aug. 29, 2013, an unremarkable day inside Florida’s whitewashed Capitol, and a typically sweltering one outside among the moss-bearded oaks and sabal palms. Around 3:45 p.m., Jennifer Meale, the communications director for Attorney General Pam Bondi, fielded a seemingly routine call from a financial reporter for The Orlando Sentinel. The attorney general of New York had recently filed a lawsuit against Donald J. Trump alleging fraud in the marketing of Trump University’s real estate and wealth-building seminars. Had Florida ever conducted its own investigation, the reporter asked.

The call set off an exchange of emails between Ms. Meale and top lawyers in the office. She learned that 23 complaints about Trump-related education enterprises had been filed before Ms. Bondi became attorney general in 2011, and one since. They had never generated a formal investigation, she wrote the reporter, but added, “We are currently reviewing the allegations in the New York complaint.”

The Sentinel’s report, which was published on Sept. 13, 2013, paraphrased Ms. Meale’s response and took it a step further, saying that Ms. Bondi’s office would “determine whether Florida should join the multi-state case.” Four days later, a check for $25,000 from the Donald J. Trump Foundation landed in the Tampa office of a political action committee that had been formed to support Ms. Bondi’s 2014 re-election. In mid-October, her office announced that it would not be acting on the Trump University complaints.

The proximate timing of the Sentinel article and Mr. Trump’s donation, and suspicions of a quid pro quo, have driven a narrative that has dogged Mr. Trump and Ms. Bondi for three years. It has intensified during Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, peaking this month with the filing of ethics complaints, calls for a federal investigation by editorial boards and Democrats in Congress, and a new investigation of Mr. Trump’s foundation by New York regulators.

But documents obtained this week by The New York Times, including a copy of Mr. Trump’s check, at least partly undercut that timeline. Although the check was received by Ms. Bondi’s committee four days after the Sentinel report, and was recorded as such in her financial disclosure filings, it was actually dated and signed by Mr. Trump four days before the article appeared.

The check’s date does not categorically demonstrate that Mr. Trump was not seeking to influence Ms. Bondi, a fellow Republican. Even as he has denied trying to do so in this instance, he has boasted brazenly and repeatedly during his presidential campaign that he has made copious campaign contributions over the past two decades, including to Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, in order to buy access and consideration for his business dealings.

Politicians in Florida, which Mr. Trump considers his second home, have been among his leading beneficiaries. An analysis of public records shows he has contributed at least $375,000 to state and federal candidates and political committees here since 1995, accounting for 19 percent of the roughly $2 million he has given to campaigns nationwide, other than his own.

Although not unprecedented, his $25,000 gift to And Justice for All, the committee supporting Ms. Bondi, is among his largest.

What is more, when Mr. Trump wrote that check, he still theoretically had reason to be concerned that Florida’s attorney general could become a player in the legal assault on Trump University.

Through 2010, when the company ceased operations, Florida had been one of the most lucrative markets for his unaccredited for-profit school. It ranked second among states in purchases, with 950 transactions, and third in sales, at $3.3 million, according to an analysis of sales data revealed in court filings.

The lawsuit by New York’s Democratic attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, which was announced on Aug. 25, 2013 — two weeks before Mr. Trump wrote the check to And Justice for All on Sept. 9 — did not cite allegations from consumers in Florida. But news organizations had reported as early as 2010 that the attorneys general of Florida and Texas had fielded complaints from consumers who had paid up to $35,000 for Mr. Trump’s seminars and mentoring programs. His contribution, therefore, could have been a pre-emptive investment to discourage Ms. Bondi from joining the New York case.

Brian Ballard, Mr. Trump’s lobbyist in Florida, said it was “ridiculous” to think his client sought to buy off Ms. Bondi. “I’m the Trump Organization lobbyist, and he has never, ever brought up Trump University with me,” he said. “It wasn’t something of concern to him. With Donald Trump, if a friend calls up and says, ‘Listen, I’m running for XYZ, could you help me?’ his instinct is to say yes. That’s all it was.”

Yet, even those who doubt anything nefarious between Mr. Trump and Ms. Bondi acknowledge that they bear blame for the intensifying focus on the appearance of a conflict.

For his part, Mr. Trump fanned the embers by sending the contribution from his nonprofit foundation, which cannot under federal law make political donations. When questions arose this year, he agreed to refund $25,000 to the foundation from his personal account and pay a $2,500 penalty to the Internal Revenue Service. Trump officials have called the mix-up an inadvertent error by his staff.

Ms. Bondi, meanwhile, has failed to explain why she accepted Mr. Trump’s check even after learning that her office was examining the New York case against Trump University. Six months later, she allowed him to host a $3,000-per-head fund-raiser for her at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. Mr. Trump attended the event, which records indicate raised at least $50,000.

Now, with the revelation of the date on Mr. Trump’s check — which came in a release of correspondence by Mr. Schneiderman — it appears that Mr. Trump and Ms. Bondi had in their possession a piece of favorable evidence that they bewilderingly failed to disclose.

“All these things come together in a way that if you don’t unpack the whole thing, the unspoken implications coalesce to create this great suspicion,” said Mac Stipanovich, a longtime Florida Republican strategist and lobbyist who disdains Mr. Trump and has never worked with Ms. Bondi. “The optics are terrible even though there is not a shred of evidence that Pam Bondi solicited a bribe or that Donald Trump provided one.”

Mr. Trump and Ms. Bondi have said they share a long friendship, but the origins of it are not apparent. Ms. Bondi, who declined requests for an interview, initially backed former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida for president. After he withdrew from the race, she endorsed Mr. Trump the day before Florida’s March 15 primary, snubbing the state’s other favorite son, Senator Marco Rubio. The only woman currently holding statewide elected office in Florida, she has since become an enthusiastic Trump surrogate.

Ms. Bondi became a conservative darling in 2010 when, as an assistant state attorney, she won her post in her first campaign of any kind. Her political future is unclear as she faces a two-term limit and has said she will not run for governor in 2018.

It was in late summer 2013, as her re-election campaign was gearing up, that Ms. Bondi called Mr. Trump to solicit the donation, aides to both of them have said; they have declined to provide a precise date. Records show that Mr. Trump had already donated $500 to Ms. Bondi’s campaign on July 15. His daughter Ivanka Trump donated another $500 on Sept. 10.

The Texas attorney general’s office, then under Greg Abbott, a Republican, had also decided in 2010 not to act on complaints against Trump University when it left the state. Mr. Trump later donated $35,000 to Mr. Abbott’s successful 2014 campaign for governor. Mr. Abbott’s office has denied there was any connection. No other attorneys general have joined Mr. Schneiderman’s litigation.

Both Mr. Trump and Ms. Bondi have said they never discussed complaints against Trump University and a separate entity, Trump Institute, which Mr. Trump did not own but that paid him licensing fees to use his name for wealth seminars held in hotel ballrooms.

There is no evidence in more than 8,000 pages of documents released by Ms. Bondi’s office in response to an open records request that she had any direct role in assessing a potential case against Trump University, or that she knew of the Florida complaints when she asked Mr. Trump for money.

That would not be unusual. Although most of the complaints were received before Ms. Bondi’s election, her predecessor, Bill McCollum, said he had never heard about them. His two top deputies and the chief lawyer and investigator in his consumer protection division each said in interviews that the complaints never reached their level.

“For whatever reason, the synergy didn’t exist before I left office,” said Mr. McCollum, who received a $500 donation from Mr. Trump in 2006.

Tens of thousands of consumer allegations are lodged with Florida’s attorney general each year on everything from used-car sales to pharmaceutical marketing to price gouging. The consumer protection division currently has 38 lawyers and 37 investigators. Limits on manpower and resources mean that most complaints do not prompt a formal probe and therefore do not come to the attorney general’s attention, former officials said.

Mr. McCollum’s deputy, Robert Hannah, and his consumer protection chief, Mary Leontakianakos, said the triage process took into account the quantity, veracity and seriousness of the complaints, as well as the number of Floridians affected and the potential to collect damages. Mr. Hannah said that “20 would not be the number of complaints that would cause someone to get concerned.”

complaints against Trump University continued once Ms. Bondi took over, albeit at a slower pace because Trump University, as well as Trump Institute, based in Boca Raton, Fla., were no longer operating.

In April 2011, Elizabeth J. Starr, then the chief of consumer protection in the Orlando office, wrote in an internal email that she had “light discussion” about devoting additional resources to assessing the Trump complaints. “The decision was made to hold off at that time,” she wrote.

In the weeks after the initial September 2013 article in The Sentinel, Ms. Bondi received daily emails from her staff to her personal Yahoo address with news reports about the Trump case. By mid-October, Scott Maxwell, a columnist for The Sentinel, had spotted Mr. Trump’s $25,000 donation in public filings and wrote that it smelled “awfully fishy.” His column set off days of critical coverage.

Despite the pressure, Mark Hamilton, a lawyer in the consumer protection division who eventually had a discussion with an attorney prosecuting the New York case, pushed his view internally that already-announced litigation would cover any Floridians who had been harmed by Trump University. Within two days, The Miami Herald reported that Ms. Bondi’s spokeswoman had said no action would be necessary because the affected Florida consumers would be compensated if Mr. Schneiderman won his lawsuit.

Mr. Trump also weighed in for the same article.

“Pam Bondi is a fabulous representative of the people — Florida is lucky to have her,” he said in a statement. “The case in New York is pure politics brought by an incompetent attorney general, a political hack.”

Kevin Sack reported from Tallahassee, and Steve Eder from New York. Kitty Bennett and Agustin Armendariz contributed research.





“The fabric of democracy is always fragile everywhere because it depends on the will of citizens to protect it, and when they become scared, when it becomes dangerous for them to defend it, it can go very quickly. “

— Margaret Atwood