SSN on Facebook SSN on Twitter SSN on YouTube RSS Feed

Nancy Smith

Bondi's White House Call Close; Who Will be Florida's Next AG?

January 5, 2017 - 5:30pm

The Hill, one of the most reputable newspapers in Washington, reports this afternoon Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is a hair's breadth away from going to work for Donald Trump's White House. 

As predicted.

Doing what -- drug czar? Not necessarily. Nobody's saying yet.

"According to Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Jacobs, the president-elect's aides are working to finalize (Bondi's) role in the Trump administration," writes The Hill.

Sunshine State News reported Dec. 3, during the course of the president-elect's job interviews, that Bondi had an appointment at Trump Tower in New York the day before.

Bondi was one of the first elected Republicans to endorse Trump and is, by anybody's estimation, a strong Trump loyalist. She was a fixture at all of his campaign events in the Sunshine State, like the warm-up act at a big-time rock concert. And Trump made her a member of his transition team.

Bondi allegedly was the beneficiary of a legally questionable gift from the Trump Foundation at a time when she was looking into potential charges against Trump University. It's a story that won't go away any time soon. Trump has said he'll shutter his foundation to avoid conflicts of interest as president. Investigations of the foundation's activities, however, are ongoing.

What happens to the position Bondi vacates in Florida?

According to Florida statute, if the departing attorney general has less than 28 months to serve, the governor appoints the AG's replacement -- no confirmation by the Legislature needed.

So, who will it be, a placeholder or a genuine attorney general candidate who can win in 2018?

With the Legislature already in session, will Gov. Rick Scott risk offending Senate President Joe Negron, who some say covets the attorney general spot himself in two years? Certainly Scott, with his own budget priorities, doesn't want to make an enemy of Negron. In that case, he would opt for the placeholder.

Here are two possible placeholders:

Pete Antonacci: Executive director of the South Florida Water Management District since fall 2015. A general counsel to Scott from 2013-2015 and a former state attorney in Palm Beach County, Antonacci served as a governing board member at the Northwest Florida Water Management District from 2006 to 2012. From 1991 to 1997, he was Bob Butterworth's deputy attorney general, where he managed major litigation involving a variety of issues, including state lands.

Tom Grady: A former one-term state representative, a Naples securities lawyer, prominent Republican and friend of Gov. Rick Scott. Scott appointed him to sit on the Florida Board of Education. During his brief tenure in the House, Grady was notable for billing taxpayers for flying on private planes owned by a campaign donor. He was also interim president of Citizens Property Insurance, but got in trouble for racking up large hotel and travel expenses on the states dime and creating a new job for his former legislative aide.

If Scott wants to leave his own mark, add a legacy achievement to his tenure as governor and overlook Negron's rumored ambitions, he could appoint Jesse Panuccio.

Panuccio is electable. He is widely considered a rising star with credentials to mount a successful candidacy for Florida attorney general in 2018. 

Panuccio joined Scott's administration as deputy general counsel in January 2011. In 2012, the governor appointed him his general counsel. In those roles, Panuccio represented the governor and the state in several significant constitutional challenges, including challenges to drug testing of state employees and welfare recipients as well as a required state-worker pension contribution. He also advised the governor on judicial appointments and served as chief ethics officer for the Executive Office of the Governor. Scott appointed Panuccio executive director of a cobbled-together Florida Department of Economic Opportunity in January 2013. At the time, Panuccio was 32 years old, youngest agency head in Florida government. Scott appointed him to the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission in January 2016. Panuccio went to work for the Ted Cruz presidential campaign, and in June joined Foley & Lardner LLP as a partner in the Miami, Washington, D.C. and Tallahassee offices.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith



Blaise Ingoglia: It's Time to Turn Florida Red -- For Good

Marco Rubio Pairs Up With Ben Cardin Against UN Resolution on Israel

Comments VIDEO – Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi makes Late Night TV as corrupt AG By Ocala Post on September 9, 20160 Comments Sometimes, there is truth in humor. Perfect for the Trump world....

bright lady, but sketchy at best...

Jesse Panuccio wants to be a career politician so bad his little legs are just a trembling as bends over to lick Daddy Ricks patent leathers. A poor joke on Florida, a state that revels in poor jokes. As far as Pam moving to DC, well, lets just say that I never really thought she was going to let me paint her toenails. Gave me something to think about while I was sitting in a deer stand.

What ever the decision Gov Scott makes as far as finishing the term of Pam Bondi,the 2018 frontrunner will still be Congressman Ron DiSantis.Mr DeSantis certainly is the smartest and most qualified.His life experience and background is the highest level.

Jesse Panuccio is a grade A moron who destroyed what was left of the Florida unemployment office. He squandered $72 million dollars on an idiotic computer system that still doesn't work and has left thousands of people without the unemployment benefits they are rightly entitled to. If everone he jerked around in the unemployment office voted he couldn't be elected to anything.

Pam Bondi is the best A G in the country. She first stopped the pills that were all over Florida an many other things that are to much to mention here. THE STATE OF FLORIDA, WILL BE POORER WITH OUT HER, BUT THE NATION WILL GET ONE OF THE BEST PERSON FLORIDA HAS.

Who wrote that, her mother?

Yes, take her she is a do nothing AG. Another Blond for the Whitehouse.

You are a hater. At least Trump hires women What and who did obama have young punks immature bullies. You are a hater.

Pretty sexist comment. I belueve she has done a great job. Prosecuted bank fraud, recovered billions for scammed homeowners. Foreclosure fraud

Covered up TRUMP FRAUD for a 25,000 contribution PERFECT FIT for his Washington club

This is Pam Bondi response to Florida corruption..... ranks Florida No. 1 in government corruption.......Message sent 4:45 pm save message from 850-414-8390 52 second Hi, this is the Florida attorney general office, I am returning a call you left us a message on on corruption wondered whether we have given up on public corruption. I am going by our office; we have no jurisdiction over public corruption. If you are referring to about the 19th statewide grand jury public corruption let me tell you that was a special circumstance involving statewide prosecutor as a Council to the statewide prosecutor grand jury but that term has finished it actually finished in 2011. So by law we no longer we have no longer any jurisdiction over corruption if you need our assistance please contact our office at 866-966-7226. Thank you and have a wonderful day.

As I first told you, thank GOD she's outta Florida! GO TRUMP!!

Comments are now closed.

nancy smith

Opinion Poll

Would you approve of teachers carrying guns in your community's schools?
Total votes: 28


Live streaming of WBOB Talk Radio, a Sunshine State News Radio Partner.