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Candidate Profile: FL Attorney General: Pam Bondi


Candidate: Pam Bondi

Party: Republican

Office: Florida Attorney General (incumbent)

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has been a media lightning rod throughout her first term in office. A very public and vocal AG, the last four years have given her tremendous opportunity to weigh in on a wide variety of issues that serve to give voters a strong indication of what they can expect if she is elected to a second term.

The Temple Terrace native is a graduate of King High School in Tampa, the University of Florida, where she earned a degree in Criminal Justice and Stetson Law School. She is a former prosecutor and spokeswoman in Hillsborough County, Florida where she worked as an Assistant State Attorney before running for AG. She also worked for Fox News as a legal analyst. Bondi was a longtime Democrat before switching parties in 2000.

Bondi's biggest accomplishment during her first term was leading a crackdown on the state's notorious pill mill epidemic. The AG pushed the state legislature to pass several measures directed at the problem, though Governor Rick Scott, a former health care industry executive, saddled the legislation with some limitations. Under the new laws, doctors are no longer allowed to dispense the most abused pills at their offices and penalties are harsher for physicians who over-prescribe. There is also a statewide database controlled by the Department of Health on which pharmacists have to log prescriptions.

Bondi was also a strong defender of human rights on the issue of human trafficking. Again she worked with the legislature to pass tougher laws. As a result, the state combined Florida’s three existing human trafficking statutes into one statute that is more user-friendly for law enforcement. The legislation also increased penalties for human smuggling from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony, while changing the rules to have those convicted of human sex trafficking designated as sex offenders and sexual predators.

However, Bondi has also received an onslaught of negative criticism. Bondi, who'd received considerable financial support from the finance sector, dismissed two of her top mortgage fraud investigators without showing cause. The two women claimed they were let go for being too tough on their crackdowns.

Bondi supported Arizona's extreme immigration law, signing a friend-of-the-court brief in support of it before it went to the Supreme Court. 3/4 of the law, which made it a federal crime for an immigrant to be in Arizona without carrying registration documents on their person, and gave police the freedom to profile, was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A staunch supporter of the death penalty, Bondi later met with embarrassment when she got the governor to postpone a scheduled execution because it was to be on the same day as her reelection campaign kick-off party, costing the Department of Corrections around $1,000.

She was also accused of political pay-for-play when her "And Justice For All" PAC took a $25,000 donation from Donald Trump just days after the AG began looking into fraud allegations against him in a lawsuit filed in New York and then dropped the inquiry cold.

In terms of policy, Bondi has been ardently pro-gun, even signing a brief that supported NRA efforts to have a federal court strike down a law which prohibits the sale of handguns by federally licensed dealers to people aged 18 through 20.

She is also strongly opposed to the state's medical marijuana initiative, claiming that it was a dishonest initiative, aimed at legalizing marijuana on all counts throughout the state.

Bondi also argued that legalizing same-sex marriage would "impose significant public harm." The AG said that "Florida's marriage laws have a close, direct and rational relationship to society's legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units."

The arguments in favor of the "sanctity of marriage" drew calls of hypocrisy from her critics, as Bondi had been married and divorced twice before engaging in an unofficial, non-binding ceremony to her current partner in 2012.

She faces Democrat George Sheldon and Libertarian Bill Wohlsifer in the general election on November 4.


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