Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi got along really well with lobbyists.
Partners with a powerful Washington, D.C., law firm aren’t registered as Florida lobbyists, but that hasn’t stopped them from wining and dining Attorney General Pam Bondi the past four years to discuss clients.
Bondi dropped suits or declined to investigate cases after numerous behind-the-scenes interactions with the firm, Dickstein Shapiro, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
A Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald review shows none of the partners were registered to lobby in Florida, meaning their advocacy may have violated state law. They won’t be prosecuted unless someone files a sworn complaint with the state.
Cases involving Dickstein Shapiro clients that fizzled in Florida include Accretive Health, a Chicago-based hospital bill collection company shut down in Minnesota for six years because of abusive collection practices; Bridgepoint Education, a for-profit online school that Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said had engaged in “unconscionable” sales practices; Herbalife, which had been investigated by federal and state authorities; and online reservation companies, including Travelocity and Priceline, on allegations that they were improperly withholding taxes on hotel rooms booked in the state.
Since 2011, Dickstein Shapiro has contributed $122,060 to the Republican Attorneys General Association, a super PAC that contributed $750,000 to Bondi’s re-election bid. She sits on RAGA’s executive committee.
It’s not the first time questions have arisen about how Bondi intermingles politics with her official duties.
She persuaded Gov. Rick Scott to postpone an execution in 2013 so she could host a political fundraiser. At about the same time, Bondi accepted $25,000 from Donald Trump three days after a spokeswoman said she would be reviewing a complaint filed by the New York attorney general against Trump’s for-profit schools. Though they’ve received complaints in Florida as well, Bondi’s office has yet to take action.
Look at it this way: she saved Florida taxpayers millions of dollars by not taking them to court, and those companies made millions of dollars by ripping off the people of Florida with scammy products and not paying taxes. It’s the glibertarian’s dream come true.
The election is in five days. Pam Bondi will win re-election in a walk. That’s how we roll in Florida.