As a top aide to Florida’s attorney general, Carlos G. Muniz helped defend the office’s decision to sit out legal action against Trump University. Now the president is naming him to be the top lawyer in the U.S. Education Department.
President Donald Trump has announced his intent to nominate Muniz to serve as general counsel to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The Senate would then consider the nomination of the Republican lawyer.
Emails reviewed by The Associated Press show that in 2013 Muniz, who served as Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s chief of staff for three years, was included in discussions about student complaints alleging fraud with Trump’s namesake real-estate seminars.
Muniz, now in private practice, has also been the lead attorney defending Florida State University in a lawsuit by a former student who said the school failed to investigate after she said she was sexually assaulted by the star quarterback of the Seminoles‘ 2013 national championship football team. The player was never charged with a crime by police in Tallahassee, and the state attorney’s office declined to pursue a criminal case against him.
An investigation by the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights is still underway, presenting a potential conflict of interest if Muniz is confirmed.
Both Muniz and the White House declined to comment Tuesday, referring all questions to the Education Department.
The Education Department said in a statement to The Associated Press late Tuesday that its ethics officer will work with Muniz on identifying any potential conflict of interest “so that Mr. Muniz may recuse himself as appropriate if confirmed.”
“This effort will include a review of Mr. Muniz’s representation of Florida State University in any Title IX complaint or investigation,” the statement said.
AP reported last year that Bondi personally solicited a $25,000 political contribution from Trump as her…