It is probably true that one doesn’t have to be a Latin scholar to at least have a basic grasp of the term “quid pro quo.” It means “what for what,” “something for something,” or in the modern era it means “a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something.” Now, when the term is used in politics it can be relatively harmless, and that is also the case in the legal world, but when there is money in the form of a donation involved, such as in payment for a political decision to halt or kill an investigation into wrongdoing, then it would appear to be a bribe.
Although not a case of bribery, there are clear indications that there was some very serious “quid pro quo” going on between presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and more than one Republican state attorney general. However, in one case “quid pro quo” does not necessarily apply because there was a payment provided prior to a favorable decision; what any sane person would define as a bribe.
First, the Associated Press began reporting late last week that a former Texas Deputy Chief of Consumer Protection, John Owens, made public copies of a 14-page internal summary of the Texas case against Donald Trump for “scamming millions from students” enrolled in the now-defunct real estate seminar; or as Donald Trump called it “Trump University.” Mr. Owens claims that in 2010 he was “ordered” to drop the fraud investigation case into “Trump University” for political reasons by then-attorney general and current governor Greg Abbott.
Although Mr. Owens is now retired, he said his team spent a fair amount of time building a solid case against Trump to try and recover over $2.6 million students spent on the scam university and an additional $2.8 million in penalties and fees. Owens could hardly believe the “stand down” order on Trump, a decision he said was “highly unusual” and left the students without recourse to recover their hard-earned money. In fact, he was so taken aback by the “order to stand down” that he made a copy of the case file and took it home.
Mr. Owens told the AP that, “It (the order) had to be political in my mind because Donald Trump was treated differently than any other similarly situated scam artist in the 16 years I was at the consumer protection office.” Owens’ boss at the time was none-other than stand-up guy Greg Abbott who is now Texas governor; he was the Texas Attorney General at the time. Closing down a sold fraud investigation is untoward enough, but the AP also reported that Trump donated $35,000 to Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign after the attorney general dropped the Trump U. fraud case; it is why it appears the case was shut down for political reasons.
Of course, Abbott claims that as the state’s top law enforcement official and head of the state’s investigative agency, his office played no role in shutting down the investigation. However, in the same mendacious breath an Abbott spokesman said,
“The Texas Attorney General’s office investigated Trump U, and its demands were met — Trump U was forced out of Texas and consumers were protected. It’s absurd to suggest any connection between a case that has been closed and a donation to Governor Abbott.”
If Republicans were not pathological liars it would be mind boggling that in the same breath Abbott claimed his office played no role in the investigation or shutting it down, and then has the audacity to say his office investigated Trump and forced his fake university out of Texas.
The story was enough of a problem for Abbott that his current attorney general took the time and effort to issue a media release about the “cease and desist” order against Mr. Owens claiming that he “divulged confidential and privileged information.”
Mr. Owens, a lawyer, responded saying “I have done nothing illegal or unethical. I think the information I provided to the press was important and needed to be shared with the public.”
It is noteworthy that current Texas attorney general Ken Paxton himself is no stranger to legal troubles involving ethics. Last August he was indicted on three felony charges for fraud for persuading Texans to invest in a “tech startup” and failed to disclose that he did not invest his own money because he was being paid in company stock. The SEC indicted Paxton earlier this year for securities fraud; he is not an upright politician but he is a typical Texas Republican.
In another case that can certainly be considered close to “bribery,” Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was considering joining a multi-state lawsuit against Trump and his fake university for fraud. Within three days of Ms. Bondi’s spokeswoman being quoted in the media as saying her office was investigating Trump’s fraud, Trump made a $25,000 contribution to the political fundraising committee supporting Republican Attorney General Bondi’s re-election campaign.
Right on cue, and why it appears to be a bribe, the Republican attorney general dropped her investigation citing insufficient grounds to proceed; even though the multi-state lawsuit against Trump did proceed. At least two states not controlled by Republicans are in the midst of legal actions against Trump for defrauding students out of millions of dollars, likely because they cannot be bribed or are unwilling to grant a favor or give Trump a legal advantage in return for something, such as a hefty campaign donation.
There isn’t much dispute among sane human beings that Trump is a fraud. However, donating to Republicans does not necessarily make him any more of a fraud than he already is, but that is not the case with the Republican attorneys general whose campaigns profited for doing the Donald a legal solid. In the Texas case, there is clear evidence that then-attorney general and now-governor Greg Abbott shutting down a fraud investigation was political and Trump’s campaign donation clearly is “quid pro quo” if for no other reason than Trump does not live in Texas or involved in its politics. In the Florida case, quid pro quo would be understating what clearly appears to be a payoff to scuttle an investigation.
Some in the media continue saying that Republicans are not happy about Trump’s success in taking over the Party. But they are embracing the lying, cheating fraud with open arms because, although they may wince every time he opens his lying racist mouth, he is as dirty a cheat and fraud as they are.