Perhaps, after 16 years of public service, it was just time to move on. But, perhaps there is another reason that Rob Johnson, the long-time Director for Legislative and Cabinet Affairs at the Office of the Attorney General, left his job and started a new gig with the Mayernick Group. By all accounts – including my own – he’s one of the friendliest people in Tallahassee. When I first moved here in early 2011, he was one of those guys who made me feel like I’d known him my whole life. I wish him nothing but the best in his new career.
So what does his departure from state government portend about the Office of Attorney General, or, more specifically, about Pam Bondi herself? Could Johnson’s departure be a signal that she, too, might be moving on to greener pastures?
With only a bit more than two weeks before Donald Trump officially becomes America’s 45th President, the Bondi speculation has died down considerably, especially so now that Governor Rick Scott has appointed a prosecutor to examine a complaint related to her decision not to pursue a legal case against Trump University. With that cloud hanging over her head, Trump may have decided it’s best to hold off on any Bondi appointment until that issue is settled.
And so far, no other major departures have materialized, lending credence to the idea that Bondi is currently in political purgatory, with no immediate prospects for departure. After all, if she’s actually got something lined up, the Tallahassee gossip mongers would have sniffed it out by now, right? And if she’s personally ruled out a role in the Trump Administration, why not just come out and say so?
Maybe Johnson knows something, and decided to pounce on a private sector offer rather than roll the dice with whoever Rick Scott appoints as Bondi’s replacement – *cough* Pepi Diaz *cough* – but given the lack of other evidence, it’s far more likely Johnson just got a fantastic offer from the Mayernicks and he decided it was the right move for him.
UPDATE: Just one day after this story was posted, a Bloomberg reporter set off a firestorm of speculation about Bondi after tweeting that she’s taking a position inside the Trump White House:
NEW: Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi will be named to a post in the Trump White House, sources tell me. Trump aides finalizing her role.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) January 5, 2017