Feb 27, 2012

Will Vern Buchanan Stay as NRCC Fundraising Head?

In the latest test of House Republican’s zero tolerance policy on ethics, Friday’s New York Times revealed that federal investigations into NRCC Finance Chairman Vern Buchanan’s (FL-13) role in a potentially illegal campaign finance scheme are “widening” and “a federal grand jury in Tampa is hearing evidence in the case.” Will Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor, and NRCC Chairman Sessions continue to allow Congressman Buchanan to lead the NRCC’s lackluster fundraising effort?

Buchanan is already under federal investigation for an “extensive and ongoing” campaign finance scheme to reimburse employees who contributed to his campaign and the Office of Congressional Ethics found that there “is substantial reason to believe” Buchanan violated the law by failing to report his positions at over a dozen companies.

The New York Times has now revealed that there is also “a deep link between his newly disclosed corporate interests and his own fund-raising operations, with donors affiliated with these groups donating more than $136,000 to his campaigns.”

“The chief House Republican fundraiser, Congressman Vern Buchanan, is under an expanding investigation for a campaign finance scheme and for failure to disclose his assets,” said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Republicans have a campaign Finance Chairman who uses potentially illegal campaign finance tactics in charge of funding their re-election. Having Congressman Vern Buchanan as fundraising Chairman for the Republican Majority is just the latest test of Republicans’ ‘zero tolerance’ policy on ethics.”

Background

Buchanan is Under Investigation by The FBI, IRS, Federal Grand Jury and the House Ethics Committee. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service and a federal grand jury in Tampa are all investigating Vern Buchanan’s roll in scheme to reimburse his employees for contributions made to his congressional campaign. Additionally, The House Ethics Committee is examining Buchanan’s failing to disclose financial interests, income  and management positions he held at 17 different businesses and organizations. [New York Times, 2/24/12]

Eric Cantor Pledged Zero-Tolerance on Ethics Violations. “I think that as Republicans emerge as a new governing majority, it is incumbent upon us to institute a zero-tolerance policy — that we understand there are reasons for our being fired in '06 and '08 […] We cannot tolerate any ethics violations or behavior in terms of compromising the ethics that the people expect us to have as their representatives.”  [YouTube, uploaded 8/10/10]

Florida Independent: FEC: Buchanan’s former dealership violated the law in an ‘extensive and ongoing scheme.’ “A federal court is imposing a $67,900 fine on a car dealership once owned by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, for what the Federal Election Commission calls an ‘extensive and ongoing scheme’ to funnel ‘secret, illegal contributions’ to Buchanan’s 2006 and 2008 campaigns.” [Florida Independent, 6/1/11]

Buchanan Heads the NRCC’s Fundraising Efforts.  NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions appointed Buchanan as the NRCC’s Finance Vice Chair on January 14, 2011. [NRCC Press Release, 1/14/2011]


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