by J. Whitfield Larrabee
June 9, 2016
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LAW OFFICES OF
J. WHITFIELD LARRABEE
TRIAL AND APPELLATE LAWYERS
251 HARVARD STREET, SUITE 9
BROOKLINE, MASSACHUSETTS 02445
TELEPHONE: (617) 566-3670
FACSIMILE: (617) 507-6435
June 9, 2016
The Honorable Governor Richard Scott
Executive Office of Governor Rick Scott
400 S Monroe St
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Re: Appointment of Independent Counsel To Investigate Attorney General Pamela Bondi
Dear Governor Scott:
In accordance with Article IV(1)(b) of the Florida Constitution, I request that you appoint an independent counsel to investigate allegations that Attorney General Pamela Bondi misused her public position in violation of Florida Statute ch. 112.313 or in violation of other state and federal laws. Florida Statute ch. 112.313(6), which provides: “No public officer, employee of an agency, or local government attorney shall corruptly use or attempt to use his or her official position or any property or resource which may be within his or her trust, or perform his or her official duties, to secure a special privilege, benefit, or exemption for himself, herself, or others.” There is probable cause to investigate Attorney General Bondi based on her solicitation and acceptance of an illegal campaign contribution in the amount of $25,000 from the Trump Foundation at a time when complaints against the Trump Foundation for fraud and unfair business practices were active at the Attorney General’s office. By soliciting and accepting a campaign contribution from Donald Trump at a time when Trump University and related entities were subject to complaints and investigation by the Attorney General’s office, and electing shortly thereafter to forgo prosecuting Trump, the Attorney General appears to have created a conflict of interest and potentially may have corruptly used her office.
I also request that the independent counsel be appointed to investigate whether Attorney General Bondi violated Florida’s campaign finance laws, including Florida Statute ch. 106.08, Sec. 5(a)(b). Florida Statute ch. 106.08, Sec. 5(a)(b), provides that: “Candidates, political committees, affiliated party committees, and political parties may not solicit contributions from any religious, charitable, civic, or other causes or organizations established primarily for the public good.” By soliciting and accepting a political contribution from the Trump Foundation, a public charity, the Attorney General appears to have violated ch. 106.08, Sec. 5(a)(b) and federal laws prohibiting public charities from making campaign contributions. I also ask that the independent counsel investigate whether Attorney General Bond or Donald Trump violated or engaged in a conspiracy to violate any state or federal laws.
The circumstances justifying the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate Attorney General Bondi are similar to the circumstances that led Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin to appoint an independent investigator to Attorney General Bill Sorrell. On May 8, 2015, Governor Shumlin appointed an independent counsel to investigate whether Vermont’s Attorney General violated campaign finance laws.
Because Attorney General Bondi cannot investigate herself, there is a need for an independent and impartial inquiry. The object of the inquiry should be to determine whether civil or criminal charges should be filed with a court. The independent counsel should prepare a report of his or her investigation and make that report available to the public.
Enclosed are sworn complaints that I have filed with the Commission on Ethics, the Division of Elections and the Florida Bar regarding Attorney General Pamela Bondi.
Thank you for your time and consideration of these matters.
Very truly yours,
J. Whitfield Larrabee