'THE ONLY OPTION': Florida newspaper calls for federal investigation into the Trump Foundation

Questions about the Trump Foundation’s illegal campaign contribution to a political group tied to Florida’s attorney general do not appear to be going away.

The Tampa Bay Times is urging the US federal government to investigate the connection between the GOP presidential nominee’s charity and Florida state attorney general, Pam Bondi,

“Since Florida prosecutors will not touch this mess, the Justice Department is the only option,” the newspaper said in an editorial published on Thursday.

“The appearance of something more than a coincidence is too serious and the unresolved questions are too numerous to accept blanket denials by Bondi and Trump without more digging and an independent review,” The Tampa Bay Times wrote.

At hand is the question of whether the Trump Foundation made the $25,000 contribution to stave off a Florida state inquiry related to allegations against Trump University — the New York billionaire’s embattled entrepreneurship business.

The Tampa Bay Times called into question the timing of Bondi’s decision not to pursue any further investigation into Trump University: It “simply does not look right,” the editorial board wrote, “and deserves an independent look to reassure Floridians that the state’s top legal officer did nothing wrong.”

The Washington Post reported that the IRS fined the charity over that donation last week. A Trump Organisation senior vice president told The Post that the donation was “an honest mistake” and that the contribution wasn’t properly listed.

Bondi has maintained that suggestions of collusion are politically motivated and declared she “will not be collateral damage in a presidential campaign” or “be a woman bullied by Hillary Clinton.”

The matter received additional scrutiny after Donald Trump boasted about calling in favours from his political allies in exchange for campaign contributions.

“When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me.,” Trump said.

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