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Orlando Political Analyst Sees Both Sides Of Bondi Lobbyist Flap

Photo: Florida's State Attorney General Pam Bondi
Florida's State Attorney General Pam Bondi

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is the new chairman of the Republican organization that has given her more than $50,000 in meals, hotel stays, trips, and other perks.

The Republican Attorneys General Association announced Monday that Bondi was elected 2014-2015 chairman during a weekend meeting in Miami Beach.

The announcement comes on the heels of last week’s New York Times report scrutinizing Bondi’s ties to the organization.

University of Central Florida political science professor Aubrey Jewett explains the Republican Attorneys General Association funneled donations of cash and perks to Bondi from lobbyists, “who then lobby her specifically about either prosecuting, or in most cases, not prosecuting some of their clients. And we have seen in at least a few instances, according to media reports, where her office has decided not to prosecute, after she was asked. So at the very least, this creates a terrible, terrible appearance.”

However, Jewett says it is common practice nationwide for special interest groups and corporate attorneys to lobby lawmakers and donate to campaigns, including campaigns for attorneys general like Bondi. He points out that, just like other elected officials, attorneys general need ample funding to mount a successful bid for office.

Jewett also notes that the New York Times report not only singled out the Republican Bondi, but also focused on Missouri’s attorney general, a Democrat, and similar practices by the Democratic Attorneys General Association.

Bondi has defended the trips.

Nicole came to Central Florida to attend Rollins College and started working for Orlando’s ABC News Radio affiliate shortly after graduation. She joined Central Florida Public Media in 2010. As a field reporter, news anchor and radio show host in the City Beautiful, she has covered everything from local arts to national elections, from extraordinary hurricanes to historic space flights, from the people and procedures of Florida’s justice system to the changing face of the state’s economy.