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Charges mounting against FL Republican congressman...Vern Buchanan

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-31-08 01:20 PM
Original message
Charges mounting against FL Republican congressman...Vern Buchanan
He is the freshman congressman from Katherine Harris's old district, Florida's 13th. He is running against Christine Jennings.

It appears that more charges are being mentioned daily.

More accusations made in lawsuit against freshman Sarasota lawmaker.

SARASOTA | A lawsuit filed in Sarasota County on Friday levies new allegations against U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and his Florida car dealerships, including sexual harassment, death threats and federal income tax evasion.

It is the eighth in a series of cases that former employees and one consumer have brought against the freshman Sarasota congressman since May.
The new charges come from the highest-level former Buchanan employee yet to file suit - a former controller at Sarasota 500 LLC, the company registered with the state to operate Sarasota Ford.

The ex-employee, Melissa Hacker, says she was fired in November 2006, after about a year on the job, for refusing to ignore an IRS tax levy on a 20-year employee for whom Sarasota 500 LLC had never withheld federal income tax. Her lawsuit alleges that the employee, Moe Gingerich, was a personal friend of Buchanan's who made more than $100,000 a year.

Hacker also says Buchanan's former business partner at Sarasota 500 LLC, David Long, continued to sexually harass and verbally abuse her after she complained to the company's lawyer. She says three employees made death threats against her while she was with the company, including Gingerich, whom she says responded, "What if I shoot you?" when she refused to ignore the IRS request.

But no matter about the charges or lawsuits....Vern is still leading in that race by a considerable margin. Goes to show you that in Florida none of that ethics stuff matters at all.

From Real Clear Politics:

Buchanan leads rematch

If Rep. Vern Buchanan, a freshman Florida Republican, survived the 2006 election cycle, he might be able to survive anything. Buchanan, who won a narrow victory in 2006 over Democrat Christine Jennings, is well ahead in a rematch, a new Republican poll shows.

The poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the National Republican Congressional Committee, surveyed 400 likely voters for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. Buchanan and Jennings were tested, along with independent candidates Jan Schneider and Dan Baldauf.

General Election Matchup
Buchanan.......48 (+4 from last, 7/08)
Jennings.......30 (no change)


Buchanan is seen favorably by 47% of district residents, while 27% view him unfavorably. Jennings, meanwhile, has considerably lower name recognition, with 36% seeing her favorably and 29% seeing her unfavorably.

It is a poll done for Republicans, but that 18 points is pretty huge.

How in the hell could Jennings have any kind of low name recognition. Her challenges to Buchanan's very close win last time were covered extensively. Of course nothing came of it, but it was in the news.

Oh, wait, I forgot. Too many here don't bother with news. They go with ideology. Vern Buchanan even in this district where he is not on the running TV ad after TV ad espousing his wonderful family values.

From Wikipedia, the 2006 challenge.

Needs updating, I see.

In the 2006 election, election officials certified Republican businessman Vern Buchanan as the winner of the race over Democratic candidate, banker Christine Jennings by 369 votes. Buchanan was declared the winner after a mandatory recount and analysis of alleged voting machine errors in the race. The primary controversy in this race is that over 18,000 ballots, roughly 1 in 6, cast in Sarasota County apparently did not register a vote for this race, far higher than in the two previous elections involving Jan Schneider, but lower than the undervote in 2000. Sarasota County voted for Jennings by a 6 point margin.

In December 2006 the judge ruled against Jennings, and Congress seated Vern Buchanan rather than make a fuss about it. That would be the Democratic congress, newly elected.

Judge rules against Jennings, Democrats to seat Buchanan

TALLAHASSEE -- A judge ruled Friday that congressional aspirant Christine Jennings has no right to examine the programming source code that runs the electronic voting machines at the center of a disputed Southwest Florida congressional race.

Circuit Judge William Gary ruled that Jennings' arguments about the possibility of lost votes were "conjecture," and didn't warrant overriding the trade secrets of the voting machine company.

But Democrats have no plans to block Buchanan from taking the seat, deciding the people of the southwest Florida district should have representation while the contest is being decided, Hammill said.

"This is the best way to maintain representation for Florida District 13 while allowing the two appropriate challenges to run their course," said Hammill.

Jennings said she agreed.

She appealed, but the appeal was denied in June of last year.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-31-08 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
1. CREW has a lawsuit against him as well.
CREW Files FEC Complaint Against Rep. Vern Buchanan

WASHINGTON, Aug 19, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and Florida citizens Carlo Bell and D.J. Padilla filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) alleging serious violations of campaign finance law.

Rep. Buchanan owns several car dealerships in Florida. In September 2005, dealership employees were pressured into contributing to Rep. Buchanan's congressional campaign and some were reimbursed for making contributions. Former employee Carlo Bell was called into a manager's office and told that if he was part of the "team" he would make a contribution. Fearing for his job, Bell agreed to make the donation and was handed $1,000 in cash. Bell also saw two other employees, Jack Prater and Jason Martin take cash in return for promising to write checks and FEC reports confirm that both men made $1,000 contributions to the Buchanan campaign.

Dealership employee D.J. Padilla was told that any employee who donated to the campaign committee would be repaid, but he refused to participate knowing that accepting repayment for a contribution is illegal.

CREW's complaint alleges three violations of campaign finance law: 1) threatening employees with reprisals to coerce them to make campaign donations; 2) making contributions in the name of another; and 3) making corporate contributions.

Ah, love those family values ads he is running 24/7.

And leading the Democrat by 18 points.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-01-08 01:27 AM
Response to Original message
2. Florida Democrats ask FBI to investigate him.

"(The Politico) The Florida Democratic Party asked the FBI today to look into allegations that Rep. Vern Buchanan broke the law by "intimidating employees to make donations to his campaign. reimbursing employees for their campaign donations and engaging in fraudulent business practices."

"Over the past several weeks, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and other media outlets have uncovered very serious allegations of fraud and violations of election laws by Congressman Vern Buchanan," said Eric Jotkoff, a spokesman for the state party. "Based on the seriousness of the charges being made, it is only appropriate that the FBI and other authorities begin investigating these allegations.

"While Congressman Buchanan deserves the benefit of the doubt until these allegations are proven true or false, it is a sad day when a member of Congress does not live up to the laws he took an oath to defend," Jotkoff added."

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TygrBright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-02-08 12:00 AM
Response to Original message
3. I ran into Christine Jennings in the Big Tent in Denver...
...and she seemed to feel that the mounting flood of allegations, investigations, and lawsuits will take its toll by election time. She still needs help, though, especially boots on the ground in the district to do campaign canvassing, blogging, fundraising, and all kinds of other stuff.

She impressed me as smart and determined, if a little on the conservative-Dem side, but a vast improvement over the Vernster.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-02-08 12:19 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Thanks for the info.
The one that was pushed out of the race for Jennings was a friend we had supported and who had done pretty well against Harris for that time.

So we have a sort of hard time accepting how business is done here. They put in who they want, and the others are edged out.

I hear Jennings is nice and very capable but I have a ways to go there.
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tanyev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-02-08 07:58 AM
Response to Original message
5. Country first....ethics last.
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YDogg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-02-08 05:26 PM
Response to Original message
6. buchanan's ads have been on the air here in central FL promoting his "independence."
no mention of his republican party affiliation. at least he is smart enough to know what damaged goods the republican party is, even here in floriduh.
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