Donald Trump not only donated $25,000 to the Florida attorney general weighing whether to investigate Trump University, but held a lavish fundraiser for her at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, according to a Huffington Post report out Wednesday.
The real estate mogul hosted a $3,000-per-person fundraiser for Pam Bondi in March 2014, HuffPo reported. While Trump did not write a check at that event, other donors in attendance boosted Bondi’s campaign war chest, and he charged the Florida GOP just $4,855.65 for use of the resort. He has charged his own presidential campaign $140,000 to host events at Mar-a-Lago.
This latest revelation adds to the “pay-to-play” rumors swirling around Trump’s foundation’s Sept. 2013 donation to a political committee backing Bondi’s reelection. The gift, which Bondi personally solicited, was granted just four days after she announced that she might join the New York state attorney general’s fraud probe into the now-defunct Trump University. She ultimately declined to pursue the investigation, though Florida residents had complained about being scammed by Trump’s real estate programs since 2011, two years before Bondi took office.
Trump last week was required to pay a penalty to the Internal Revenue Service for the donation, which violated campaign finance rules since it came from a registered nonprofit.
While Trump has claimed his donation represents nothing more than a favor to a longtime acquaintance, he has said several times in the past that as a businessman, he donated to politicians with the expectation that he could expect favors in return.
“I’ve given to everybody, because that was my job,” he said in January. “I’ve got to give to them because when I want something I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass.”
As the Huffington Post reported, total donations from the Trumps to Bondi’s re-election efforts include the $25,000 gift from his foundation, $500 checks to her campaign from both Ivanka and Donald Trump in the fall of 2013, and, in the spring of 2014, a total of $125,000 from Ivanka and Donald Trump to the Florida GOP, which was Bondi’s primary source of campaign funds.
The Florida attorney general has endorsed Trump’s presidential campaign and joined him in several appearances on the 2016 trail.
Correction: The original post said that Trump allowed Bondi to host her fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago free of charge. The Florida GOP actually paid Trump $4,855.65 to hold the event there.