From an editorial in Friday’s Washington Post:
If Donald Trump were treated like an ordinary presidential candidate, the speculations swirling around an illegal donation his charitable foundation gave to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) might dog his campaign from now until Election Day. The situation smells of influence-buying. Even if one takes Bondi’s explanations seriously, the facts already on the record are damning.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) sued Trump University and other Trump- affiliated for-profit educational ventures in 2013. Subsequently, the Trump family donated to Bondi. Around the same time, the Donald J. Trump Foundation also gave $25,000 to a political committee backing Bondi’s campaign.
Bondi’s office could easily have taken up a case similar to Schneiderman’s. The attorney general’s office had reportedly received dozens of complaints about Trump-associated educational entities in 2008. Yet Bondi’s office did not launch an investigation or file a lawsuit.
A Bondi spokesman told the Associated Press that Bondi did not know about complaints regarding Trump’s educational companies when she solicited the $25,000 donation.
It is possible that is true.
The news should, however, remind voters of two of the many disqualifying elements of Trump’s record. First is the scandal of Trump University and the Trump Institute, but voters should also see how Trump once again attempted to use his charitable foundation, which other people have funded over the past several years, for his own personal ends. The $25,000 he transferred from the foundation to Bondi was an illegal donation; charitable groups cannot give to campaigns.
These points, among others, suggest that Trump’s penchant for lying and deception does not end with relatively harmless campaign-season overstatement. It is a business strategy, and it has real-world consequences.
A Sept. 8 For the Record incorrectly referred to the 1993 Congress as a “Republican dominated Congress.” Democrats were in the majority.