Trump's Florida Donation Turning Into Political Headache

Aide dismisses allegations as 2 newspapers call for investigation
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2016 2:22 PM CDT
Trump's Florida Donation Turning Into Political Headache
Donald Trump is greeted by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi as she introduces him at a campaign event in Tampa, Fla., in March.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Donald Trump's new "pay to play" trouble continues to generate negative headlines for the candidate. On Wednesday, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway found herself fending off questions from George Stephanopoulos of ABC on whether her boss used a big political donation to sway Florida's attorney general into skipping an investigation into Trump University, reports Politico. Conway dismissed the allegations as a non-story and accused Hillary Clinton of being the real pay-to-play scoundrel. The issue surfaced earlier this week when the Washington Post reported that Trump had paid a $2,500 IRS fine for making an illegal $25,000 contribution to attorney general Pam Bondi's PAC in 2013. The donation violated federal tax regulations because it came from his charitable organization, the Trump Foundation.

The Trump campaign has called it more of a clerical error than anything else, but critics are pouncing at the timing: It came while Bondi was considering whether to join a multi-state investigation of Trump's real-estate program; she ultimately did not do so. It also flips a big narrative of the campaign: Trump has long accused Clinton of pay-to-play politics, and now he's under scrutiny for the same. Both the New York Times and the Miami Herald editorial pages are calling for a deeper investigation into the controversy. And the Times has a separate front-page news story that explores how the IRS fine "is only the latest slap of his wrist in a decades-long record of shattering political donation limits and circumventing the rules governing contributions and lobbying." (More Donald Trump stories.)

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