Campaign tactics draw questions in FL
As Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) seeks to win another term in Congress, some of his managerial decisions are raising eyebrows -- and rightly so.
... (Rep. Buchanan) has put all of his campaign records in the custody of his sister-in-law. In the key post of campaign treasurer, he replaced an accountant highly regarded in national Republican circles with a business associate.
And Buchanan recently opened a campaign account at a small bank whose executives, directors and their spouses have contributed a total of nearly $50,000 — almost half of it shortly after he spoke at the bank's grand opening. One director also hosted a $500-a-plate fundraiser for the millionaire auto dealer.
... In his 2008 rematch against Democrat Christine Jennings, several former employees of Buchanan's dealerships sued him, saying they were pressured into making contributions and reimbursed in violation of federal law.
One of the suits has been dismissed under confidential terms, but the others remain open. The election commission also is investigating the allegations.
That investigation may not get very far because the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is plagued by gridlock these days. (For more info on what is making the FEC a dysfunctional agency, visit CREW's Fix the FEC project.)
Oh, one more thing worth mentioning: Buchanan has three distinct bank accounts for his campaign.
Larry Noble, former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission, said it is unusual for a candidate to have three campaign accounts. "Nothing prohibits that," he said, "but people may ask questions as to why they need all those accounts."
That's a very good question. Let's see if Buchanan has a very good answer.