The legal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has asked the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, over allegations contained in a new Office of Congressional Ethics report.
The Office of Congressional Ethics recently found that Buchanan had failed to disclose 17 positions held, as well as $14,315 in income, in his 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 personal financial disclosures. The office forwarded its report on the matter to the House Ethics Committee for further inquiry.
According to the report, the board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegations after finding “substantial reason to believe that Representative Buchanan violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law” during the course of its investigation.
Buchanan amended his disclosures to include the missing information following the investigation.
“Rep. Buchanan’s list of crimes is seemingly unending,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan, in a press release. ”There is already a criminal investigation into whether he violated campaign finance laws, and last August we had asked DOJ to explore whether he had also engaged in witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and bribery. Now it seems the congressman may have added false statements to his portfolio.”
In 2009, the Federal Election Commission charged that Buchanan’s former business partner, Sam Kazran, and a dealership the two once co-owned had violated campaign laws by using funds from the company “to reimburse [dealership] employees, Kazran’s business partners, their family members and Kazran’s relatives for $67,900 in contributions to Buchanan’s 2006 and 2008 Congressional campaigns.”
Though Buchanan was never charged in the case, the FEC report reveals that many at the agency had doubts about his innocence. He is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice and the Office of Congressional Ethics in the matter.
Buchanan is currently in his third term in Congress, and acts as a finance official at the National Republican Congressional Committee.