Pam Bondi, Florida’s, taxpayer-paid attorney general, tossed aside any thoughts about working for all of the Florida citizens who pay her salary in order to cohost Fox News’ The Five show and cheerlead for Donald Trump for three days last week. Perhaps just as bad, she seems to have tossed aside ethical concerns, too.
With Kimberly Guilfoyle’s seat at The Five’s table officially vacant, Fox News is clearly on the lookout for another Trumper to take her place. It just so happens Bondi’s taxpayer-funded job is up in January. Clearly, Bondi’s three cohosting gigs were an audition for a permanent spot. Apparently, any constituents who would prefer an attorney general doing her job instead of shilling for Trump are not her concern.
But aren’t there ethics rules that would prohibit such a thing? Whatever the rules say, Fox’s assurances that Bondi was cleared by the state’s ethics commission seem to be false. From the Tampa Bay Times (with my emphases added):
The situation was so unprecedented for a sitting elected official that Bondi first sought guidance from the Florida Commission on Ethics, the government body that oversees conduct of public officials. Tallahassee lawyer Richard Coates "spoke to the Commission on behalf of the Attorney General" prior to her appearing on the show, her spokeswoman Kylie Mason said.
Mason didn't say what Coates told the commission or how it responded, but in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, Fox News said that the ethics commission "cleared Pam Bondi to appear as a co-host of The Five and travel to New York."
But on Monday, commission spokeswoman Kerrie Stillman said no opinion was rendered. She said Coates and ethics commission general counsel Chris Anderson discussed by phone previous commission rulings on whether publicity could be considered a gift to a public official. Anderson "did not express a view as to whether Mr. Coates' scenario would or would not violate the Code of Ethics," Stillman said.
(Bondi image via screen grab)