Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has released its annual report on the “most corrupt” members of Congress. Making the list for the third time is Florida’s own Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota.
“Witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and bribery are all in a day’s work for the ethically challenged Rep. Vern Buchanan,” reads the report. “The Sarasota congressman orchestrated an elaborate scheme that forced his employees to contribute to his campaign, ensuring they would be illegally reimbursed with corporate money.”
In August, CREW filed an FBI complaint against Buchanan, asking that the Bureau investigate him on charges of witness tampering, obstruction of justice and bribery, based largely on a deposition of one of his former business partners, Sam Kazran.
As extensively reported by The Florida Independent, Kazran has made startling allegations against his former partner — including the charge that Buchanan pressured employees into donating to his 2006 and 2008 congressional campaigns, reimbursed them with funds from his car dealership, and later tried to bribe Kazran into signing an affidavit stating his innocence. Interviews with other former employees back up Kazran’s testimony.
Florida Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, also made CREW’s “Most Corrupt” list.