The U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Ethics has decided to extend its investigation into Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota. According to a statement released today, the matter was transmitted to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics on February 9, 2012.
The statement, in full, from the Committee on Ethics:
Pursuant to House Rule XI, Clause 3(a)(8)(A) and Committee Rules 17A(b)(1)(A) and 17A(c)(I), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics have jointly decided to extend the matter regarding Representative Vern Buchanan, which was transmitted to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics on February 9, 2012.
The Committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.
The Committee will announce its course of action in this matter on or before Wednesday, May 9, 2012.
Buchanan has been the subject of more than one investigation in recent years.
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. Both the Department of Justice and the Office of Congressional Ethics also launched investigations into the matter.
Last month, the details of an ethics investigation into discrepancies on Buchanan’s 2008-2011 financial disclosures were made public. According to its 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.