Congressman Nadler, Deutch, and Conyers Call on Department of Justice to Investigate Trump Foundation Donations to Florida AG Pam Bondi

Sep 14, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, joined Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) for a press conference following the House Judiciary Committee Democrats sending a letter to U.S. Department of Justice Attorney General Loretta Lynch requesting an investigation of the allegations of bribery and other criminal misconduct concerning the donation from the Donald J. Trump Foundation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Below is a copy of Representative Nadler’s remarks, as prepared:

“Yesterday, I joined my fellow Members of the House Judiciary Committee in writing to Attorney General Loretta Lynch to ask that she launch an investigation into the allegations of criminal misconduct surrounding the $25,000 donation from the Donald J. Trump Foundation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

“We understand the facts to be the following: 

1)      Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi personally solicited a political contribution from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump while her office contemplated joining an investigation of fraud at Trump University.

2)      A political organization backing Mrs. Bondi’s reelection reported receiving a $25,000 donation from the Donald J. Trump Foundation on September 17, 2013—just four days after her office announced it might join a New York state probe of Trump University.

3)      At least one of Mr. Trump’s family members also donated to her campaign.

4)      After receiving these funds, Mrs. Bondi declined to further investigate Mr. Trump’s business interests.

“These facts beg the question of whether or not these payments influenced Mrs. Bondi’s official decision not to participate in litigation against Mr. Trump.  If they did, then a number of criminal statutes would appear to be implicated by this course of conduct, including those pertaining to bribery, perjury, and deliberate failure to disclose transfers to the IRS. 

“We note in our letter that Mr. Trump has already paid a $2,500 penalty to the Internal Revenue Service and refunded his foundation $25,000.

“Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this case is that the person who is accused of the crime – in this case, Donald Trump – has bragged in front of millions of people that this is exactly how he conducts his business.

“This allegation—that Mr. Trump bribed a Florida state official to protect his business interests—is completely consistent with Mr. Trump’s own statements about using money to influence politics.

“In a 2015 interview with the Wall Street Journal, he justified his actions by saying: 'As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.'  He was even more direct at campaign stop earlier this year: 'I’ve given to everybody.  Because that was my job.  I gotta give to them . . . . Because when I want something, I get it.  When I call, they kiss my ass.'

“Basically, you have a man saying that he gives money to politicians so that when he calls them they will do 'whatever the hell' he wants them to do.  And then we have an example of him giving money to a politician who then did exactly what he wanted her to do – drop or forgo an investigation of fraud. 

“That is not how the system is supposed to work.  That is a corruption of the system.  That is rigging the system against the interests of the American people.  People who are caught rigging the system should go to jail, not to the White House.  And at a minimum, they should be investigated by the Justice Department when they are that brazen about breaking the law.

“As we stand here today, we are not the only ones calling for this investigation.  Editorial boards including the Washington Post, the Tampa Bay Times, and the Sun Sentinel have all called on the Department of Justice to examine these alleged crimes.

“Again, when you have a case that appears this blatant, this obvious, this deliberate and includes comments from Donald Trump appearing to brag about it for all the world to see, it just makes sense for the Department of Justice to investigate it and find out what really happened.  And that is what we are calling on the Attorney General to do.”