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Attorney General Pam Bondi defends Florida’s voter purge on Fox News

It took us a couple days to get our hands on the video, but we finally were able to track down Attorney General Pam Bondi’s interview from Tuesday with Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly. The topic was the Department of Justice’s objection to the timing of Florida’s voter purge. Foreshadowing Gov. Rick Scott’s defiant response, Bondi defended the state’s actions and criticized the Department of Homeland Security for refusing to share its immigration database.


Here is a transcript of Bondi’s interview, with Kelly’s questions and comments (paraphrased in itallics):

Why does the Department of Justice care enough to weigh in on Florida’s actions? “You know, Megyn, that’s a great question because wouldn’t you think despite what party we are, what ethnicity, what race, we should we all want fair elections? Because every single person who votes illegally nullifies a legal vote.”

Critics say Florida’s actions are messing with legitimate voters, harassing people, targeting Hispanics and aimed to benefit Republicans. How do you respond? “And this is a (Florida) Department of State issue. I’m not technically involved in it.”

(Kelly interjects) Bondi will likely be asked to weigh in as the state’s chief law enforcement officer. “Yes, I have a feeling I will be. But let me try to explain what the Department of State has done. And they didn’t want to do that. That is exactly right. You don’t want to start sending out these letters to the wrong people. So last September, they went to Homeland Security and said, ‘Hey, you have these lists. You have access to the federal immigration list. Give us these lists. Let’s work together so that doesn’t happen.’ And they became obstructionist and they refused to work with the state of Florida.”

Who did? “The federal government, Homeland Security. They refused to give these lists (and) work with the state of Florida. And so that’s how all this came about.”

Now the Department of Justice says the purge is too close to the primary, but Florida is saying that is because Homeland Security was stonewalling. “They stonewalled the Department of State back in September. They’ve been working towards this goal and again this should be something that we should all, every American, should want fair voting rights. The only people that should vote should be legal.”

Democrats say they are concerned about disenfranchisement. Republicans are concerned about voter fraud and cleaning the roles. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has objected to voter ID laws in various states. How do you resolve this from a legal standpoint? “Florida, we’re going to keep fighting. We have Gov. Rick Scott. He’s tough. He believes in what we’re doing. The Department of State, we are at a stonewall right now.”

(Kelly interjects) The state is currently at a loss. “It is right now because we are stonewalled right now. But my words to the Department of Justice are, ‘Shouldn’t we all want legal people to vote and not illegal people?’ And that’s what’s happening. And it shouldn’t matter what party you are.”

Did the federal government accomplish its goal of shutting down Florida’s purge? Are you stuck between now and November or can this get resolved? “Well, I hope so. I know the Department of State, they’re still asking Homeland Security to work with them and we’re going to see if that’s going to happen.”

Democrats who have objected say legitimate voters could be disenfranchised. Is there something to that argument and should Florida tread lightly? “I do believe you need to tread lightly in that you need to be accurate. You don’t need to be sending all these people letters and scaring them if they are registered voters. And that is what the state of Florida was trying to accomplish by working with Homeland Security.”

(Kelly interjects) The list would help the state identify people who are illegally on the voter roll. “Exactly, and going through that first before sending out all these letters.”

Is Florida entitled to this Homeland Security database? “I think we absolutely should be. I think they should work with us because again as attorney general of the state of Florida, I find it very frustrating, I think every American should find it very frustrating, and troubling that they don’t. I want to work with our state to ensure that the proper people vote.”

In November, if this issue is not resolved, what remedy will there but if it is discovered that a number of illegal or illegitimate voters did in fact vote? “We’re going to see what happens between now and then. I want to be very careful what I say now, but I’ll tell ya look at (the year) 2000. That race was way less than 1,000 votes, Megyn.”