|Alma Mater||Stetson University College of Law|
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 | edit source]
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, Florida. Bondi graduated from the University of Florida in 1987 with a degree in Criminal Justice and was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority at Florida. She then graduated from Stetson University College of Law with a JD in 1990 and was admitted to the Florida Bar on June 24, 1991.
Career[edit | edit source]
She is a former prosecutor and spokeswoman in Hillsborough County, Florida, where she worked as 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.
Bondi prosecuted former Major League Baseball player Dwight Gooden in 2006 for violating the terms of his probation and for substance abuse. In 2007, Bondi also prosecuted the defendants in Martin Anderson's death.
Attorney General[edit | edit source]
In 2010, Bondi defeated Democratic State Senator Dan Gelber by a 55% to 41% margin to become the first woman Attorney General of the State of Florida.
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. In 2018, Bondi joined with 19 other Republican-led states in a lawsuit to overturn the ACA's bans on ban on health insurance companies charging people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums or denying them coverage outright.
In 2013, Bondi persuaded Governor Rick Scott to postpone a scheduled execution because it conflicted with her reelection kickoff/fundraising event. After questions were raised in the media, Bondi apologized for moving the execution date.
Bondi was re-elected in November 2014, receiving 55% of the vote. Her challenger, George Sheldon, received 42%.
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.
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. 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.
Fundraising controversies[edit | edit source]
Bondi was criticized for some of her election fundraising activities, including contributions received from Donald Trump and his associates. The Florida Attorney General's office received at least 22 fraud complaints about Trump University. In 2013 a spokesperson for Bondi announced that her office was considering joining a lawsuit initiated by New York's Attorney General against Trump regarding tax fraud. Four days later 'And Justice for All', a political action committee (PAC) established by Bondi to support her re-election campaign, 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 their actions first arose in 2013, both the Bondi PAC and Donald Trump defended the propriety of the nonprofit foundation's political donation.
By contrast in March 2016, after Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service about the illegal 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. 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. Bondi and Trump did not reconcile their competing versions of events. On March 14, 2016, Bondi endorsed Trump in the Florida presidential primary, saying she has been friends with Trump "for many years." In June 2016, a spokesperson for Governor Rick Scott stated that the state's ethics commission is looking into the matter. Nothing further came from that investigation. In September 2016, the IRS determined that the donation to Bondi's PAC violated laws against political contributions from nonprofit organizations, and ordered Donald Trump to pay a fine for the illegal contribution. Trump also was required to reimburse the foundation for the sum that had been donated to Bondi. Neither Bondi nor her PAC were fined or criminally charged for soliciting and accepting an illegal donation. 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.
Pam 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.
Bondi's association with Scientology and the multiple fundraisers that wealthy Scientologists have organized for Bondi's political campaigns over the years have also 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. However her public association with Scientology began in 2010, when it was already being investigated by the FBI for involvement in human trafficking and abusing its workers.
Work for Donald Trump[edit | edit source]
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. In 2019 after she left the Attorney General's office, Bondi was hired by Ballard Partners, a firm with close ties to Donald Trump, and she began working as a registered lobbyist for Qatar. In November of that year, she was hired by the Trump administration with “special government employee” status to help the White House in messaging during the president's battle against impeachment. Her job was described the following month as being to "attack the process" of the impeachment inquiry. On January 17, 2020, Bondi was named as part of Trump's defense team for the Senate impeachment trial.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Bondi married Garret Barnes in 1990; the couple divorced after 22 months. In 1996, Bondi married Scott Fitzgerald; they divorced in 2002.
Electoral history[edit | edit source]
|Florida Attorney General Republican primary election, 2010|
|Florida Attorney General election, 2010|
|Florida Attorney General election, 2014|
References[edit | edit source]
- "Lawyer info-Pam Bondi" Florida Bar, Find a Lawyer
- Kam, Dara. Early on, Florida attorney general Pam Bondi shows ambition. Palm Beach Post. http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional/early-on-florida-attorney-general-pam-bondi-shows-/nLyhP/
- Execution rescheduled to accommodate Pam Bondi fundraiser, Tampa Bay Times (September 9, 2013).
- James L. Rosica, Bondi apologizes for having execution moved, Tampa Tribune (September 25, 2016).
- Attorney General Pam Bondi apologizes for delaying execution: Pam Bondi delayed an execution to go to a campaign fundraiser, Associated Press (September 24, 2013).
- 2014 Florida election results: Rick Scott wins, medical marijuana falls short, Orlando Business Journal
- Anderson Cooper: Florida AG Pam Bondi Either 'Mistaken or Not Telling the Truth', The Daily Beast (June 15, 2016)
- Peters, Jeremy W. and Alvarez, Lizette After Orlando, a Political Divide on Gay Rights Still Stands, New York Times (June 15, 2016)
- Ducassi, Daniel and Caputo, Marc Bondi says she's not being hypocritical toward LGBT community Politico, (June 14, 2016)
- Is Pam Bondi auditioning for Fox News while still working for Florida taxpayers?, Tampa Bay Times
- Trump contribution to Pam Bondi's re-election draws more scrutiny to her fundraising, Tampa Bay Times (October 17, 2013)
- Trump's $25K to A.G. Bondi merits probe , Orlando Sentinel (April 2, 2016)
- Trump contribution to Pam Bondi's re-election draws more scrutiny to her fundraising, Tampa Bay Times (October 17, 2013)
- Trump camp says $25,000 charity contribution to Florida AG was a mistake, Washington Post (March 22, 2016)
- Bookbinder, Noah Column: The Trump tax filings we've seen highlight the need to see more, Tampa Bay Times (May 17, 2016)
- CREW files complaint against Trump Foundation, (March 21, 2016)
- Florida AG Personally Asked For Donation Before Declining Lawsuit Against Trump University, Brevard Times (June 7, 2016)
- Florida AG asked Trump for donation before nixing fraud case, Associated Press (June 6, 2016)
- Hollyfield, Amy Orlando Sentinel raises more questions about Pam Bondi's Trump money, Tampa Bay Times (June 5, 2016)
- Old questions resurface as Attorney General Pam Bondi endorses Trump, Miami Herald (March 14, 2016)
- Trump University model: Sell hard, demand to see a warrant, Associated Press (June 2, 2016)
- Gov. Rick Scott: Calls To Investigate Bondi Are Partisan Politics - Local News - 90.7 WMFE, (June 10, 2016)
- Fahrenthold, David A. Trump pays IRS a penalty for his foundation violating rules with gift to aid Florida attorney general, Washington Post (September 1, 2016)
- Fahrenthold, David A. Trump pays $2 million in damages ordered by judge over misuse of charity funds, according to NY attorney general, Washington Post (December 10, 2019)
- Political notebook: Pam Bondi under fire after LPS-related resignations,
- Childs, Joe Pam Bondi's Clearwater fundraiser organized by Scientologists, Tampa Bay Times (June 30, 2014)
- Auslen, Michael Pam Bondi to speak before group with ties to Scientology, Tampa Bay Times (September 6, 2016)
- Bleyer, Jim Donald Trump, Pam Bondi, and the Church of Scientology, Tampa Bay Beat (October 6, 2016)
- Lavender, Paige Florida Attorney General To Anti-Clinton RNC Crowd: ‘Lock Her Up’, HuffPost (July 20, 2016)
- Benen, Steve Despite earlier controversy, Pam Bondi joining Team Trump, MSNBC (November 7, 2019)
- Ianelli, Jerry Ex-Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to Reportedly Join Trump White House, Miami New Times (November 6, 2019)
- Friedman, Dan Donald Trump, Pam Bondi dives into the Swamp, Mother Jones (November 6, 2019)
- Movie Nights, Camp David and Cable Messaging: A White House Impeachment Playbook, The New York Times (December 11, 2019)
- Former Florida AG Pam Bondi named to Trump’s impeachment defense team, News 4 JAX (17 January 2020)
- Mitchell, Tia Attorney General Pam Bondi's Cayman trip wasn't a wedding; many wonder why, Tampa Bay Times (May 30, 2012)
[edit | edit source]
- Pam Bondi for Attorney General (Campaign website)