Aug 15, 2012
Congressman Vern Buchanan: Too Corrupt to Defend Seniors and Middle Class
With Congressman Vern Buchanan's (FL-16) ongoing ethical scandals and support for a Medicare-ending budget, Keith Fitzgerald can defeat Buchanan in November. Congressman Vern Buchanan has built a record of scandal and continues to face at least five ongoing federal probes that 'could result in Buchanan serving his next term behind bars" according to CNN.
In addition, Congressman Buchanan has voted twice for Congressman Paul Ryan's budget that ends Medicare for seniors in order to protect tax breaks for millionaires like himself and companies shipping American jobs overseas. Congressman Buchanan will be rejected by voters that want an honest and trustworthy defender of seniors and the middle class.
Congressman Buchanan is Wrong for Seniors. Congressman Vern Buchanan voted to drastically cut Medicare and raise health care costs by $6,400 for Florida seniors while giving people earning at least $1 million a year a $265,000 tax cut. Earlier this year, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reported that Buchanan had already been seeing "how tricky it is to defend the [Paul] Ryan plan in a congressional district with more than 160,000 Medicare recipients who worry that any tinkering could hurt them."
Buchanan Voted for Budgets With the Wrong Priorities for Seniors. House Republicans voted for two budgets authored by Congressman Paul Ryan. Together, these budgets that would end Medicare’s guaranteed benefit while providing people earning more than $1 million a year with an average tax cut of $265,000. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office estimated it will increase health care costs by an extra $6,359 by 2022 for future Medicare beneficiaries, while the Center for American progress has claimed that it is likely that that a middle-class family with two kids making about $70,000 a year would pay about $1,150 more in income tax. [H Con. Res. 34, Vote #277, 4/15/11; H Con Res 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12; Center for American Progress, 3/20/12; Center for American Progress, 3/20/12; Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/27/12; Tax Policy Center, Table T12-0078 and T10-0132; Citizens for Tax Justice, 3/22/12; CBO, 4/5/11; CNN, 3/23/12]
Buchanan Continues to Face At Least Five Federal Probes. Congressman Buchanan still faces serious investigations by the FBI, DOJ, IRS, and a federal grand jury for his roles in a scheme to funnel money from his corporations into his campaign coffers and tax evasion. In addition, the House Ethics Committee is still investigating Congressman Buchanan for bribing his business partner with a $2.9 million settlement in return for lying about Buchanan's role in the illegal fundraising scheme. Congressman Vern Buchanan could also face a contempt charge for being a no-show at his court ordered deposition.
Buchanan Is Under Investigation by the FBI, IRS, and a Federal Grand Jury. “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.” [New York Times, 2/24/12]
Vern Buchanan is Under Investigation by the Department of Justice. “The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating complaints that U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan broke campaign finance laws — the same allegations for which the Federal Elections Commission has already cleared the congressman after a two-year investigation.” [Bradenton Herald, 10/18/11]
House Ethics Investigating Potential Violations of Federal Bribery, Obstruction, and Witness Tampering Laws. “ The report asks the Ethics Committee to consider whether Buchanan violated federal bribery, obstruction and witness tampering laws -- all of which have criminal penalties. It also says there's ‘substantial reason to believe’ Buchanan violated House rules of conduct requiring members behave at all times ‘in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.’ […] The Office of Congressional Ethics report also notes that they were ‘unable to discuss with Representative Buchanan his involvement, if any, with directing reimbursements of campaign contributions because he refused to cooperate with the OCE Review.’” [Bradenton Herald, 5/09/12]
Buchanan is Looking Out for Millionaires Like Himself and Special Interests. While cutting Medicare for Florida seniors, Congressman Buchanan has helped protect special interest tax breaks and loopholes that benefitted himself, special interests and his campaign – all while he’s under investigation by the IRS.
Buchanan Pushed Industry Tax Break After NASCAR Fundraiser. “U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is using his new political influence in Congress to try to carve out a special tax benefit for NASCAR racetracks worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Buchanan filed a bill to create the tax break three months after he was scheduled to attend a fund-raising event at Daytona International Speedway during the Coke Zero 400 [...] According to Buchanan’s current campaign finance disclosure report filed with the Federal Election Commission, he collected at least $11,500 in racing-related campaign donations in the last quarter.” [Herald-Tribune, 10/23/11]
Buchanan Used Offshore Reinsurance Companies to Reduce Tax Burden. According to the Herald Tribune, Vern Buchanan has used offshore reinsurance companies in Bermuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands to reduce the tax burden for auto dealerships that he owns. The offshore companies do not do not occupy any office space and do not employ anyone on the island nations where they are licensed. They are managed from the U.S., and basically provide insurance to insurance companies. [Sarasota Tribune Herald, 10/31/06]
Buchanan Used the Capital Gains Tax Rate to Save $260,000. From 1999-2002, Buchanan was involved in a controversial development project of the Ritz Carlton. In 2002, Buchanan settled the deal in an “unusual fashion” and saved $260,000 by paying capital gains taxes opposed to income taxes. “In 1999, the developers of a Ritz-Carlton hotel and condos in Sarasota agreed to give Buchanan an interest in the project if he could obtain financing by that Aug. 31. He didn't meet the deadline, the developers arranged their own financing and Buchanan sued. The case was settled in unusual fashion. In 2002, Buchanan bought a Ritz penthouse for $5-million from a relative of co-developer Robert Buford and sold it back to another Buford relative for $6.35-million just more than a year later. As the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported shortly before the 2006 election, the deal was good for both sides. Buchanan got the $1.35-million he originally sought but saved about $260,000 by paying capital gains taxes at the 20 percent rate instead of income taxes at the 39.6 percent rate.” [Tampa Bay Times, 9/21/08]
Buchanan Cut a Deal That Avoided $300,000 In Federal and State Taxes. In 2008, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Buchanan structured a real estate deal to avoid paying taxes on more than $300,000 to the federal and state government. “A multimillionaire with vast business holdings, Buchanan cut his own taxes on two real estate deals that experts say were structured to avoid paying more than $300,000 to the federal and state government.” [Tampa Bay Times, 9/21/08]