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Bad headlines for Buchanan

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Congressman Vern Buchanan’s ethical woes continue to deepen as the bi-partisan House Ethics Committee officially announced they were opening an additional probe in Congressman Buchanan.  On Friday, House Ethics Committee Chairman Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Alabama, and ranking member Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, D-California, announced that they were looking into a new matter regarding Congressman Buchanan – the second time in four months.

Buchanan is now under a total of six major inquiries into his questionable behavior including investigations by the House Ethics Committee, IRS, FBI, Department of Justice and a federal grand jury.  Additionally, the FEC said in January that Buchanan “more likely than not” violated federal election law for an “extensive and ongoing” campaign finance scheme to reimburse employees who contributed to his campaign. Buchanan is facing an additional criminal investigation by the Department of Justice for orchestrating this scheme.

Here is a quick snap shot of his investigations in the recent months:

Sarasota Herald Tribune: Ethics Committee announce new inquiry into Buchanan – 3/23/12

“For the second time in four months, the U.S. House Ethics Committee has announced an inquiry into a matter related to Rep. Vern Buchanan, a three-term Longboat Key Republican […] Last November, the committee began looking into whether Buchanan, a car dealership owner, had violated federal law by not fully disclosing his business holdings to Congress for four years. The Ethics Committee has yet to rule on that matter.”

The New York Times: G.O.P. FUnd-Raiser Faces Inquireies Into His Race -2/23/12

“Federal inquiries surrounding Mr. Buchanan appear to be widening, as investigators examine allegations that his companies improperly reimbursed contributors to his campaigns and claimed improper tax deductions and that he failed to include all his varied financial interests in his Congressional disclosure reports […]agents for the F.B.I. and the Internal Revenue Service recently contacted former employees alleging financial improprieties by Mr. Buchanan, who owns a number of auto dealerships throughout Florida and elsewhere and is one of the richest members of Congress. A federal grand jury in Tampa is hearing evidence in the case as well, according to several people with knowledge of the inquiries.”

The Washington Post: Congressional investigators find ‘reason to believe’ Buchanan broke ethics laws -2/6/12

“Congressional ethics investigators concluded there ‘is substantial reason to believe’ that Florida’s Rep. Vern Buchanan, one of the top Republicans in the House, violated ethics laws by failing to report his position with a half-dozen firms, according to records released Monday […]The ethics office identified 17 positions that Buchanan failed to report between 2007 and 2010 at six entities, ranging from real-estate investment companies to his personal foundation. Buchanan amended his disclosures last year after ethics investigators confronted him about the missing information.”

Tampa Bay Times: Rep. Buchanan’s credibililty takes hit in election report -12/22/11

“Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan claimed the Federal Election Commission had ‘completely exonerated’ him of accusations that employees of his car dealerships were illegally reimbursed for campaign contributions. In a just-released report, however, FEC attorneys said evidence suggests ‘it is more likely than not’ that the millionaire Sarasota Republican and his campaign committee broke federal election laws.”

Wall Street Journal: House Ethics Investigators Extend Buchanan Probe -12/22/11

“House ethics investigators announced late Thursday they have extended a probe into Florida Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan for possible violations of the chamber’s ethics rules.”

Bradenton Herald: U.S. Department of Justice opens campaign finance probe of Vern Buchanan -10/19/11

“The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating complaints that U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan broke campaign finance laws […] Buchanan’s attorneys said Tuesday they expected that the Justice Department would open its own probe of allegations that Buchanan directed a former business partner, Sam Kazran, to improperly reimburse his employees for contributions they made to Buchanan’s congressional campaigns from 2005 to 2007.”

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Vern Buchanan’s former car dealership is fined for illegal contributions -10/13/11

“In an anticipated move, a federal court on Thursday hit U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s former car dealership with a nearly $68,000 fine for making illegal donations to his past campaigns.”


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