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.
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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.
Compare that to Bondi, who in her first few weeks had given multiple press conferences, penned op-eds and appeared on Fox News.
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.
Since the election, consumer advocates have been hopeful that Moody will go after corporations as hard as she goes…