Florida Center for Investigative Reporting: New York Times Continues Investigation Into Pam Bondi’s Connection With Corporate Law Firm

Career College Central Summary:

  • The New York Times published another story looking into Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s entanglements with a corporate law firm and one of its lawyers.
  • According to the Times, Bondi—who won reelection last week—has maintained a close relationship with Lori Kalani, a lobbyist and lawyer. The Times has described Kalani’s employer, Dickstein Shapiro, as a “Washington-based firm that specializes in building personal relationships with state attorneys general to help corporate clients avoid becoming targets of investigation.”
  • According to the Times,

    • Ms. Kalani and two other partners at her firm were among the lobbyists and lawyers who flew on a chartered Boeing 737 to upstate Michigan from Washington, a ride that cost the Dickstein partners $4,500 each. In return for the payment, they secured the right to join a half-dozen Republican attorneys general for the round-trip flight to the weekend retreat.
    • Dickstein Shapiro separately donated $35,000 last year for membership to the Republican Attorneys General Association, campaign finance reports show. Money was then passed on from the association to Republican candidates like Ms. Bondi to help with their election campaigns.
    • The donations also helped cover the $2,394 cost of Ms. Bondi’s flight, hotels, meals and beverages during the weekend at the Grand Hotel, a landmark Michigan resort, according to a gift report filed by Ms. Bondi with the Florida Commission on Ethics.
    • Lawyers and lobbyists at Dickstein contacted Ms. Bondi’s office last year on behalf of nearly a dozen clients, including Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant; Travelocity, the online reservation company; Bridgepoint Education, the for-profit college chain; and Herbalife, the nutritional shake company; according to emails sent to Ms. Bondi’s office last year by Ms. Kalani and others at Dickstein Shapiro. The emails were obtained through an open records request by The Times.

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