Trump donated $25,000 to a group backing Bondi, who was weighing an investigation into Trump University
Hillary Clinton said the situation is "questionable"
Donald Trump on Monday vehemently denied he made a $25,000 political contribution to a political group backing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to sway her away from investigating the billionaire’s beleaguered Trump University project.
Trump in 2013 donated $25,000 to a political group supporting Bondi’s reelection bid, just days after her office said it was weighing an investigation into allegations of fraud against the scandal-ridden Trump University. Bondi, who is now a top Trump supporter in Florida, decided not to pursue the case.
The Washington Post revealed late last week that Trump paid the Internal Revenue Service a $2,500 fine because charitable organizations like the Trump Foundation are not authorized to donate to political groups. A Trump aide also told the Post that the real estate mogul had since reimbursed the foundation for the improper donation.
The Republican nominee insisted Monday in a gaggle with reporters that he “never spoke to” Bondi about the investigations into Trump University.
“I never even spoke to her about it at all. She’s a fine person. Never spoke to her about it. Never,” Trump told reporters aboard his plane in the skies of Ohio.
Trump, who has said repeatedly that he made political contributions to Democrats and Republicans alike in order to further his own interests, rejected the notion that the donation was at all politically motivated.
“I’ve just known Pam Bondi for years. I have a lot of respect for her,” Trump said. “I just have a lot of respect for her as a person. And she has done an amazing job as the attorney general of Florida.”
Hillary Clinton’s campaign team has grown frustrated that as focus is trained on Clinton’s own family foundation, little attention – in their eyes – has been paid to Trump’s donation to Bondi. Over the weekend, aides furiously tweeted about the attention discrepancy, getting into Twitter fights with reporters in the process.
On Monday aboard her new campaign plane, Clinton weighed in.
“I am quite taken aback by the foundation making a political contribution to the Florida AG who was just about to investigate Trump University and then ending the investigation,” Clinton said. “There’s so many things that are questionable about that. And the IRS certainly thought so and said it was illegal and fined Trump for that set of facts.”
CNN’s Dan Merica contributed to this report.