What Conflict Of Interest?
The donation Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi solicited and received from Donald Trump just before she decided not to investigate complaints against Trump University has sparked several calls for investigations and numerous complaints.
Florida Governor Rick Scott, a supporter of Donald Trump, and the chair of a Trump Super PAC, will now be in a position to pick which State Attorney will lead one of those investigations.
Because when it comes to Florida politics, conflict of interest is baked into the cake. Republicans wouldn't have it any other way.
According to The Tampa Bay Times, Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober, the man charged with investigating one of the bribery complaints, has requested that another prosecutor take over because his friendship with Pam Bondi is a conflict of interest. But buried in the Times story is this:
Scott now can choose which of the other 19 state attorneys in Florida should consider an investigation into Bondi.
That would be Rick Scott, YUGE supporter of Donald Trump and Bondi, and the chair of Rebuilding America Now, a Super PAC created to help elect the very man whose apparent pay-to-play action launched the very same investigation, along with several others.
In other words, by stepping aside due to a conflict of interest, Ober may give way to an even larger conflict of interest in the investigation, and, dare I be cynical, perhaps grease the skids even more in Trump and Bondi's favor considering Scott gets to handpick the investigator.
Being the chair of Rebuilding America Now, the Super PAC which itself is under scrutiny, has its own share of conflicts for Rick Scott:
The one saving grace, according to interviews with a dozen people with ties to the group: Scott, the Florida governor who chairs the super PAC. He has made a significant contribution to the super PAC from his own personal fortune, CNN has learned from a super PAC aide."We were the one blessed by the current regime, and the regime left," said one super PAC official, who said that his concerns have been soothed by Scott's success. "It was fits and starts before that, and it's fits and starts now."
Scott's is an unusual role: the chief executive of the nation's third largest state -- with a net worth estimated to be over $100 million -- holding a side gig glad-handing the nation's wealthiest Republicans to help the party's presidential nominee.
An "unusual role" is certainly one way to put it. You could even say one man's "blessing" is another man's conflict of interest.
This same article goes on to explain that Scott has struggled to persuade big donors to join him, and that even members of the Republican Party have tried and failed to get Scott to instead distance himself from Trump and his toxicity. In fact, an anonymous party member, in a Trump-like fashion, even said this:
"I'm kind of glad there are hurricanes and Zika that take up a bunch of his time," said one person close with Scott who is encouraging him to scale back.
That's the Republican Party for you, cheering on natural disasters and virus outbreaks if they may in any way benefit the party.
But this anonymous and ever so concerned Republican need not have worried. Scott is perfectly capable of making political hay out of all three things at once. You could say he's a bit of a disaster multi-tasker, having been at the helm of one after another ever since he took office, a majority of his own making. He's also a natural ally to Trump, in that their personal business interests put them in a position to potentially benefit financially if they govern accordingly. Anyone who's been paying attention to Scott, how he governs, and his "blind trust" could hardly be surprised that he would not only support Trump, but take an active role to help get him elected. Aside from raising money and appearing at his side for rallies, many are holding there breath in horror at the thought of a repeat performance of numerous election shenanigans Scott and his SOS have taken part in during past elections that could benefit the toxic Trump.
Meanwhile, back in pay-to-play land, Scott and Bondi continue to shrug off any scrutiny of her actions in soliciting the donation from Trump just as she decided to take no action on behalf of Floridans who complained Trump and his "University" cost them dearly, as if it's nothing. Of course, when this is business as usual in their eyes, that's hardly surprising. But many others beg to differ, as all the calls for investigations and all the complaints filed show.
As for handpicking another investigator for this complaint, Scott unsurprisingly says nothing to see here:
Though the request came from Ober's office Aug. 22, it has not yet been acted on by the governor.
“We received the letter and will process this reassignment request with the same protocol as other reassignment requests," Scott spokeswoman Lauren Schenone said in a statement.
It's common for state attorneys to request their cases be reassigned when they see a conflict of interest. However, it's less common for the subjects of a complaint to be Florida's top legal officer with ties to every state attorney.
Bondi's office and Trump's campaign have repeatedly insisted that the bribery allegations are not true. Addressing reporters in Washington on Tuesday, Scott, who chairs a pro-Trump super PAC, echoed those complaints.
“It’s just partisan politics," Scott said.
"Just partisan politics" says Scott, shrugging off yet another conflict of interest so big Trump could fly his company plane through it on a flight paid for by the donors Scott has managed to string along on Trump's and his business's behalf.