Ashley Moody, as different from Pam Bondi as DeSantis is from Scott

Florida’s AG, Ashley Moody, might be as different from Pam Bondi as DeSantis is from Scott 

Excerpt: Florida’s new attorney general has barely been on the job two weeks, but she’s already reached a conclusion: “Like it or not, we’re going to have to start upping our game.” In one of her first interviews since taking office, Ashley Moody pledged to get better at going after people and corporations defrauding Floridians, vowed to take the lead on the state’s opioid epidemic, and said she wanted to do it without the stain of partisanship that has blemished other attorneys general across the country. 

“I think there’s a tendency these days, for whatever reason, to view every action or decision through a partisan lens,” she said. 

One of her battles over the next four years, however, will be shaking off accusations that she’s “Pam Bondi 2.0.” During two terms in office, Bondi courted controversy in national television appearances, through opposition to gay marriage and work with partisan groups such as the Republican Attorneys General Association. 

Already, Moody, 43, has cast a different tone. She hasn’t been on Fox News. (She laughs that she hasn’t been invited on.) And she hasn’t been dominating the headlines. 

Moody, who spent 10 years as a Hillsborough circuit judge before running for attorney general, has been meeting with her office’s lawyers and identifying some of their top concerns. Among them is fraud, particularly against the elderly. 

It’s a trend that’s been rising, and Florida leads the nation, she said. The state is also second in cases of identity theft. She said she’s looking at new ways to analyze cases and stop them. 

And it doesn’t just mean locking up individuals sitting behind a computer, she said. 

“It could also be corporations taking advantage of consumers,” she said. 

Bottom Line: Prior to Ron DeSantis taking office I dedicated several stories about him and the differences we could expect to see compared to Rick Scott. Two weeks into office they’ve been crystal clear. Of Florida’s new cabinet Ashley Moody has had the lowest profile and it’s evident she’s not going to be looking for attention, for the sake of attention. Pam Bondi won both of her elections by 13% statewide. That’s extremely impressive in Florida. Among Republicans, only Adam Putnam and Jeff Atwater have won two statewide elections by larger margins in the state’s history.  

Near the end of her term as Florida’s AG, it became evident that Pam Bondi was interested in what was next (auditing for US AG and perhaps TV) - while we still needed a strong legal leader in our state. It’s arguable that her slow start to engage the recount process in Broward and Palm Beach Counties enabled the failed Supervisors of Elections to carry out misfeasance that might have been preventable. Anyway, it’s clear that it’s a new day in Florida’s AG office as well. It’s evident in part by the contrast between Pam’s highly public persona and Ashley’s lack of attention seeking.  

Hopefully this is a sign that she’ll be quick and decisive on Florida’s key legal matters rather than parsing matters out publicly first. There are multiple paths for a successful AG to choose. Ashley’s clearly more inclined towards the “actions speaking louder than words approach”. 

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