First elected in 2010, Bondi was an early supporter of Trump and spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
During the presidential campaign, she came under fire for her acceptance of a $25,000 campaign check for her own re-election run from the Donald J Trump Foundation shortly before announcing two years ago that she would not act on complaints involving Trump University.
She spoke publicly about the matter for the first time in September, defending herself for asking Trump for the money in the first place and for not returning the contribution even after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit alleging fraud at Trump University.
“If I had returned it, you would have reported, ‘Bondi accepted a bribe, got caught and returned it,’” Bondi said. “That’s how the reporting goes. And so, no, there was nothing improper about it. So there was no reason to return it.”
A growing number of Floridians have come forward this year saying they lost money or were dissatisfied with the for-profit, unaccredited Trump University, which closed in 2010, But Bondi said that at the time of the contribution, her office had only fielded one complaint — and that did not lead to an investigation.
That lawsuit and a separate federal class-action civil lawsuit in California alleged that Trump University — which was largely owned by Trump himself — defrauded consumers by as much as $35,000 each with promises of a real estate investing education that they either did not receive or found to be worthless.
According to the Associated Press, Trump’s attorneys on Thursday agreed to enter settlement talks in the class-action fraud lawsuit, raising the possibility of a quick end to the 6 ½-year-old case just before it goes to trial.
Outgoing Palm Beach Commissioner Priscilla Taylor: “Shocked. That’s all I can say. Shocked.”
West Palm Beach County Commissioner Shanon Materio: “I think we will course-correct.”
Riviera Beach City Commissioner Dawn Pardo: “Between our 1-cent sales taxpassing and President-Elect Trump saying last night he was going to focus on the infrastructure of our country, I think we can look forward to a totally different country in the next decade.”
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Keith James: “Shocked. But optimistic about the resiliency of our country.”
The agency said it will send more than 500 people to sites.
Other Florida counties: Hillsborough (Tampa), Lee (Fort Myers), Miami-Dade and Orange (Orlando.)
“Although state and local governments have primary responsibility for administering elections, the Civil Rights Division is charged with enforcing the federal voting rights laws that protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot on Election Day,” the release said. “Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the department has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country to protect the rights of voters.
It said lawyers also will staff a hotline starting early Tuesday: (800)-253-3931 or 202-307-2767 or TTY 202-305-0082; FAX (202) 307-3961. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can fill out a complaint form on the department’s website.
The agency said complaints related to disruption at a polling place should be reported to local election officials –in this case the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections –and complaints related to violence, threats of violence or intimidation at a polling place should be reported immediately to local law enforcement and later to the Justice Department.
Ignoring chants of “Privileged Patrick,” “No way CPA” and “You’re a bum,” U.S. Senate candidate and current U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, came Monday morning to the offices of the Palm Beach County supervisor of elections to do early voting.
“More and more information is continuing to come out about that,” Murphy said. “But at the end of the day, I trust Secretary Clinton with our nuclear codes. That’s more than Marco Rubio can say about Donald Trump.”
Asked about putting a big chunk of his own money into his campaign, Murphy said, “We’re feeling really good about the next couple of weeks and making sure our message gets out there.”
Three protesters stayed close and kept up loud chants as Murphy talked to reporters and stood in line to vote. At one point, Murphy staffers and supporters tried to block the protesters hand-drawn signs with large Murphy signs.
In August, as Murphy talked to reporters in a study room at the Palm Beach County Library Palm Beach Gardens branch, Murphy staffers kept out a “tracker” for the conservative political action committee “America Rising” and even held a sign in front of his video camera to block him from shooting through the glass into the Murphy news conference.
“Patrick Murphy’s ‘stock sale’ and subsequent $1 million loan to his campaign raises serious questions about whether he’s purposely skirting FEC donation limits,” AMerica Rising spokesman Jeff Bechdel said later in an email. “The most likely buyer of Murphy’s stock is his father, Thomas, who has already plungednearly $3 million into super PACs for his son’s campaign. This ‘stock sale’ appears to be another avenue for father to donate, this time directly, to his son’s foundering effort.”
After repeatedly complaining about a “rigged” election at his recent campaign rallies, Donald Trump would not pledge during Wednesday night’s third presidential debate to accept the results of the Nov. 8 election against Hillary Clinton.
“What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?” Trump said — contradicting recent statements by his running mate Mike Pence, daughter Ivanka and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
Clinton called Trump’s response “horrifying” and a break with centuries of American democratic tradition.
Replied Trump: “I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now. I’ll look at it at the time.”
Trump said the media “is so bad and so corrupt…they’ve poisoned the minds of voters.”
He also said that there are “millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn’t be registered to vote.” He was apparently referring to a 2012 Pew Center on the States study that estimated that 24 million registrations in the U.S. “are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate” and that 1.8 million dead people are on voter rolls and 2.75 million people are registered in more than one state. The Pew study deals mainly with record-keeping issues and doesn’t document any fraud.
Trump also complained that Clinton “should not be allowed to run and just in that respect I say it’s rigged because she should never have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with her emails.”
Clinton called Trump’s answer “horrifying…That is not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them and that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election…He is denigrating, he’s talking down our democracy.”
So far, statewide, 2.43 million mail-in ballots are outstanding. The party breakdown is pretty even: 981,771 Republican, 941,157 Democrat. Another 58,105 are “other” and a whopping 446,413 are “no party.”
Of 513,089 ballots already turned in, the split’s nearly the same: 210,707 Republican and 210,734 Democrat, with 14,359 “other” and 77,289 “no party.”
The breakdowns are especially interesting this year because many Republican leaders have hesitated to endorse their nominee, Donald Trump, in his race against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
In Palm Beach County, 19,827 ballots are outstanding. Of those, 5,898 are Republican, 10,357 Democrat, 658 “other” and 2,914 “no party.”
Of the 141,341 ballots already submitted in the county, 40,864 are Republican, 70,504 Democrat, 4,139 “other” and 25,834 “no party.”
Voters are choosing candidates for president as well as state, county and local offices. They also will be voting on a proposed 1-cent surcharge to the county’s 6 percent sales tax to pay for roads, bridges and schools. Early voting runs from Oct. 24 through Nov. 6. The deadline to ask that a vote-by-mail ballot be mailed to you is 5 p.m. Nov. 2.
UPDATE 1:56 p.m.: Not everyone who had a ticket to the rally got in. Sometime near 12:30 p.m., the gates were locked. Folks coming pout say it was standing room only withing the Expo Center.
Some have already left, eager perhaps to beat a backup in the parking lot. Trump signs are doing double-duty as rain hats. Anyone who thought to bring an umbrella had to leave it at the gate, along with bottled water and half-finished coffees. One woman ran out to stash her vape in a tree.
UPDATE 12:16 p.m.: The crows is eagerly awaiting Trump to arrive.
UPDATE 11:49 a.m.:
UPDATE 11:47 a.m.:
UPDATE: 11:37 a.m.: The Dowling siblings, ages 12, 10 and 8, are here on a field trip of sorts.
“Civics and history all combined into one,” said dad Brian Dowling, who brought Thomas, Niamh and Sean to the rally.
The trio is homeschooled in West Palm Beach.
“It’s a disgrace how political races have become dirtier and dirtier and dirtier,” said Dowling, who didn’t let that dissuade him from bringing the kids here at their mother’s mother suggestion.
The family backs Trump. Thomas says the issue that resonated was immigration.
“We’re in favor of legal immigration, not the back door.,” said dad.
UPDATE 11:26 a.m.: Sergio Michel talks about why he supports Donald Trump, saying we need a businessman to lead our country to financial prosperity. Michel said, “Banter and boy talk is what it is, and I myself have heard many women refer to me in very derogatory words.”
UPDATE 11:16 a.m.: Robins, the 16-year-old homeschooler from Royal Palm Beach, is now up to four new voters and three absentees.
UPDATE 11:08 a.m.: Lots of great photos are already coming in from today:
UPDATE: 10:50 a.m.: Crowds are continuing to pour in. Crowds are continuing to pour in.
UPDATE: 10:42 A.M.: The crowd has grown rapidly, headed for a couple thousand at the Expo Center of the South Florida Fairgrounds.
Homeschooler Brian Robins, 16, is working the line with a clipboard. His goal? Register potential voters. But so far, the crowd is proving well-prepared in terms of voter registration – he’s signed up just one.
Robins, of Royal Palm Beach, said he began volunteering for the Republican Party when he was 13. He enjoys the work but shies away from the rowdy or rude.
“I prefer when we are all together and respectful of each other’s opinions,” Robins said.
As the folks chant, “Lock her up,” Robins said that this group is tamer than the Rick Scott campaign.
“If you weren’t with Rick Scott, you were cussed off the doorstep. Same with (Charlie) Crist.”
Robins thinks law school may be in his future. But this week, he was happy to get all of his school work done in time for today’s event.
UPDATE: 10:32 A.M.: Ann Elizabeth Higgins and Margaret O’Connell of Century Village are out today to support Trump.
UPDATE: 10:25 a.m.: Some at the South Florida Fairgrounds are there to protest Donald Trump.
UPDATE 10:11 A.M.:
UPDATE 9:54 a.m.: Crowds continue to grow at the South Florida Fairgrounds.
UPDATE 9:41 a.m.: They started gathering at the South Florida Fairgrounds before dawn and by shortly after 9 a.m. some 500 or more Trump supporters were queuing up outside in light drizzling rain eager for a chance to see their choice for president.
They chanted “USA, USA,” and sported buttons declaring themselves Trump lovers, Hillary haters and among the “Basket of Deplorables” – a term Hillary Clinton coined but that some on Team Trump have adopted with angry pride – but just some.
“It didn’t make me mad, it hurt,” said Elaine Moretti of Palm Beach Gardens, as she stood with like-minded friends waiting for the Expo Center doors to open. Moretti shrugged off the accounts from two women in the New York Times and one in The Palm Beach Post that Trump groped, grabbed or kissed them without invitation.
“No one on the plane was ever notified,” Moretti said of the woman who told The Times Trump attempted to slip his hand up her skirt when she was seated beside him in first class 30 years ago.
Diane Kushner of Boynton Beach and Linda Polsney of Pompano toted a pink banner and wore T-Shirts declaring Women for Trump, the name of the group they founded eight months ago. They too aren’t buying these women’s stories. Too long ago. No one told. No one investigated. Then Kushner took up an argument Trump himself has made: Bill Clinton did worse.
As the two worked the crowd, they broke into chants of “Lock her up. Lock her up, “ referring to Hillary Clinton and her email woes.
ORIGINAL POST: Just a 10-mile drive from his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Donald Trump today will campaign at the South Florida Fair Expo Center.
It’ll be the Republican nominee’s fourth rally in less than 48 hours in Florida, a state he must win to have any shot of winning the White House. Trump has trailed Hillary Clinton in recent Florida polls.
A federal judge Wednesday ordered the deadline for registering to vote in Florida extended through Oct. 18 because of disruption stemming from Hurricane Matthew.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker sided with lawyers for the Florida Democratic Party and other groups, who argued at a hearing in Tallahassee that thousands of potential voters — many of them minorities or newly naturalized citizens — risked losing the opportunity to register if more days were not added.
“There is no right more precious than having a voice in our election,” Walker concluded.
While Hurricane Matthew was raging off Florida’s east coast, the Florida Democratic Party last week unsuccessfully urged Gov. Rick Scott to extend the state’s Oct. 11. Scott refused, saying Floridians already had plenty of time to register.
Part-time Palm Beach billionaire Trump’s campaign has been rocked by Republican defections and calls for him to get out of the race since the tape surfaced on Friday afternoon.
The 2005 tape captures Trump saying that when he sees attractive women, “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet…And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p—-. You can do anything.”
CNN’s Anderson Cooper, one of the Sunday night debate moderators, said Trump was describing sexual assault.
“No, I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understood what was said,” Trump said. “This was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly, I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.”
Trump tried to change the subject to ISIS and “much more important things and much bigger things,” but Cooper pressed Trump three times on whether he had actually kissed or groped women without their consent.
“No, I have not,” Trump finally replied.
Clinton called Trump “not fit” to be president and said the tape showed “Donald talking about women. What he thinks about women. What he does to women. And he has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is. But I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is.”
Clinton brought up other comments Trump has made to denigrate women, immigrants, minorities, people with disabilities and Muslims.
“This is who Donald Trump is, and the question for us, the question our country must answer is that this is not who we are.”
In the hours leading up to the debate, Trump tried to turn attention to former President Bill Clinton‘s sexual indiscretions and Hillary Clinton’s defense of her husband in the 1990s. Trump had three of Bill Clinton’s accusers seated in the audience as well as a rape victim whose attacker was represented by Hillary Clinton when she practiced law in the 1970s.
“If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse. Mine are words, his was action. This is what he has done to women. There’s never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women…Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously,” Trump said.
Clinton responded that “so much of what he just said is not right, but he gets to run his campaign any way he chooses. He gets to decide what he gets to talk about…When I hear something like that, I am reminded of what my friend, Michelle Obama, advised us all: ‘When they go low, you go high.'”
Clinton added: “If this were just about one video, maybe what he’s saying tonight would be understandable, but everyone can draw their own conclusions at this point about whether or not the man in video or on the stage respects women.”