Donald Trump’s two great loves are himself and money, in that order. When Trump parts with money, he expects something in return, especially when he donates to politicians. In fact, he often bragged about his use of money to buy political influence.
I’ve got to give [campaign contributions] to them, because when I want something, I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass. It’s true. They kiss my ass. It’s true.
Then there’s this exchange during a Republican primary debate.
Q: You’ve also supported a host of other liberal policies, you’ve also donated to several Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton included, Nancy Pelosi. You explained away those donations saying you did that to get business related favors. And you said recently, quote, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.
TRUMP: You better believe it… I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people. Before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. And that’s a broken system.
Trump donated to the political campaigns of two state Attorney-Generals. Aside from his $35,000 donation to former Texas A-G Greg Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign, Trump donated to Florida Attorney-General Pam Bondi’s campaign. Both of them were “there for” Trump in the form of not pursuing fraud charges against Trump “University.”
The first donation to Bondi’s campaign for $25,000 came from Trump’s foundation, 3 days after the Orlando Sentinel ran a story saying that Florida’s Attorney General was considering whether to file fraud charges against Trump “University.”
The donation was illegal and resulted in a $2500 fine.
Trump’s attempt to dismiss that illegal donation as a series of clerical errors falls apart when taken with other facts beginning with an admission by a former employee of Trump “University”, that politics always play a role in how Trump “University” did business.
All we had to do is stroke a check to the committee to re-elect [the state attorney general],” the individual said. “And the problems went away.
Contrary to his claims to the Washington Post, Trump had spoken with Bondi.
I never spoke to her, first of all. She’s a fine person, beyond reproach. I never even spoke to her about it at all. She’s a fine person. Never spoken to her about it, never.
On Monday, a Bondi spokesperson admitted that Bondi personally spoke to her old friend Donald about a donation before she dropped the case against Trump “University.”
Trump rewarded Bondi through several other donations after she dropped the case.
He opened up Mar-a-Lago for a $3,000 per head fundraiser for Bondi at a much better discount than he is giving to his own campaign. Christine Wilkes of Huff Post, writes:
The use of Mar-a-Lago alone was a donation of some value. Space at the resort is expensive to rent, and Trump has charged his own presidential campaign roughly $140,000 per event for use of the mansion.
In contrast, the Republican Party of Florida paid only $4,855.65 for the Bondi fundraiser, cutting a check on March 25, 2014. It was a “small event on the lawn … featuring snacks and refreshments, attended by about 50 people,” a Bondi campaign staffer told The Huffington Post.
Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, donated $500 each to Bondi’s campaign the same year. Then Trump donated $25,000 to Florida’s Republican Party, an important source of money for Pam Bondi’s campaign.
Pam Bondi was without doubt one of the Trump “pay to playmates” who made Trump “University’s” problems go away.
Meanwhile, Trump’s clumsy attempt to smear the Clinton Foundation with pay to play allegations isn’t fooling anyone, except maybe his fans.
As Hrafnkell Haraldson, wrote this morning, Marc Cuban described Trump’s multiple lies to smear Hillary Clinton as “headline porn.”
New York’s Attorney-General gave a more blistering condemnation as MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin reports:
Just in: Statement from NY AG's office slams Trump for Trump U. "scam", says Clinton Fdn is in compliance w/ NY law: pic.twitter.com/CFTGci5K2C
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 6, 2016
This, incidentally, is the difference between an Attorney-General with ethics and Trump’s favorite pay to playmate.