Pamela Jo Bondi aka Pam Bondi, a Republican, was the 37th Florida attorney general from 2011 to 2019, making her the first woman to hold this position. She was born on November 17, 1965, in Tampa, Florida, to Joseph Bondi, who was a city council member and then Mayor of Temple Terrace. She graduated from the University of Florida in 1987 with a degree in Criminal Justice, and in 1990, she earned a JD from Stetson Law School. Bondi acted as a prosecutor and spokeswoman in Hillsborough County, Florida, where she was an Assistant State Attorney. She then resigned this position to seek the office of Attorney General of Florida.
Attorney General Bondi’s Career
In 2010, Bondi ran for Attorney General of Florida and defeated Democratic State Senator Dan Gelber by a 55% to 41% margin. During her tenure, she was the lead attorney general in an unsuccessful lawsuit seeking to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Florida et al v. United States Department of Health and Human Services. In 2018, Bondi joined with 19 other Republican-led states in a lawsuit to overturn the ACA’s bans on health insurance companies charging people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums or denying them coverage outright. Bondi opposed same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights issues on behalf of the state. Following the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting in June 2016, Bondi was interviewed by CNN reporter Anderson Cooper, who said that Bondi’s expression of support for the LGBT community was at odds with her past record.
Pam Bondi Fundraising Controversies
Bondi’s association with Scientology and the multiple fundraisers that wealthy Scientologists have organized for Bondi’s political campaigns have provoked controversy. Bondi has justified those contacts and her speeches before leading Scientologists by arguing that the group wishes to help her crack down on human trafficking. In 2011, Bondi also pressured two attorneys to resign who were investigating Lender Processing Services, a financial services company now known as Black Knight, following the robosigning scandal, as part of their work for Florida’s Economic Crime Division. After the resignations, Bondi received campaign contributions from Lender Processing Services, though she denied any quid pro quo. In 2013, Bondi also received criticism following a campaign donation from Donald Trump. Prior to the donation, Bondi had received at least 22 fraud complaints regarding Trump University. A spokesperson for Bondi announced that her office was considering joining a New York state probe of Trump University at the time of the donation, but ultimately the Florida Attorney General’s Office did not pursue any investigation.
Trump’s Impeachment Trial
In 2020, Bondi served as one of President Donald Trump’s defense lawyers during his first impeachment trial. This raised eyebrows, as she was criticized for her appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show while still serving as Florida Attorney General. Fox News claimed that the Florida Commission on Ethics had approved Bondi’s appearance on the program, however, a spokeswoman for the commission denied this. Bondi also faced backlash over her involvement in the impeachment trial, with some saying that her defense of Trump was a conflict of interest given her history of campaign donations from him.
Pam Bondi’s career has been marked by both successes and controversies. She was Florida’s first female attorney general and played a lead role in several high-profile cases, including an unsuccessful lawsuit seeking to overturn the ACA’s bans on health insurance companies charging people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums or denying them coverage outright. However, she has also faced scrutiny over her ties to Scientology, her campaign donations, and her involvement in controversial public health policies. In addition, her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in her state drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.
Despite the controversies, Harris has remained popular among her supporters, who appreciate her advocacy for progressive policies such as universal healthcare and criminal justice reform. She has also been praised for breaking barriers as the first woman, first Black person, and first person of South Asian descent to serve as vice president.
As vice president, Harris has taken on a number of important responsibilities, including leading the administration’s efforts to address the root causes of migration from Central America, promoting voting rights, and advocating for police reform. Her role has also included breaking tie votes in the evenly divided Senate, which has been crucial for the passage of key legislation.
Overall, Harris’s tenure as vice president has been marked by both successes and challenges, as is common for any political figure in such a high-profile position. It remains to be seen what the future holds for her political career, but she is undoubtedly one of the most influential and prominent politicians of our time.
Quick Facts About Her
- Born on November 17, 1965, in Tampa, Florida, U.S.
- Political party: Republican
- Education: University of Florida (BA) and Stetson University (JD)
- Bondi was married to Garret Barnes in 1990 and divorced after 22 months of marriage
- She married Scott Fitzgerald in 1996 and divorced in 2002
- Engaged to Greg Henderson in 2012