- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was more than a little miffed that a Democratic challenger told a media audience Wednesday that Bondi was soft on white collar crime while leading an office in what appeared to favor political supporters.

Speaking only a few hours earlier at the 20th annual legislative editors meeting hosted by The Associated Press, Democratic challenger George Sheldon said Bondi’s office has failed to put enough emphasis on white collar crime and civil rights issues during her first three years as attorney general.

“To say that I’ve turned a blind eye to cases like this is completely false,” Bondi told journalists “He needs to know his facts before he talks.”

Specifically, Sheldon inferred that Bondi ignored a potential investigation into Donald Trump’s business dealings in Florida after receiving a $25,000 campaign contribution from the New York entrepreneur.


A clearly angry Bondi, who had zipped through a long list of what she saw as triumphs during her term, described the accusation as not only wrong, but “despicable and disgusting.”

“That’s completely misleading,” Bondi said, noting that Trump has never been under investigation in Florida.

Sheldon did have a few compliments for Bondi, but said she allowed her political views to affect her judgment.

Sheldon, a former state legislator and secretary of the Department of Children and Families before moving to Washington to take a position in the Obama administration, said Bondi’s priorities are out of line with most Floridians and does not deserve to be re-elected.

Sheldon said Bondi’s latest misstep was represented by her opposition to have a medical marijuana amendment put on the November ballot that was upheld earlier this week by the Florida Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court has ruled,” Bondi said. “That was my job as attorney general. To make sure people understood what was on the ballot.”

Bondi, however, said she would vote against the measure. She says she opposes it largely because of her fear that unscrupulous doctors will make too much marijuana available to young people who won’t require it medically.

“Public policy makers ought to be listening rather than deferring to the ideologies that are occurring,” Sheldon said

Rep. Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale, who cannot seek re-election to the state House because of Florida’s term limits law, is opposing Sheldon for the Democratic nomination for attorney general and had similar criticism of Bondi during his appearance.