CREW Calls on House Leadership to Demand Resignation of Rep. Vern Buchanan
CREW Also Sends Letter to Ethics Committee Correcting Buchanan's Response to OCE Report
Washington, D.C. – In the wake of the release of the report by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) last week, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) today called on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) to demand Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) resign from Congress. Rep. Buchanan’s litany of criminal and ethical problems – confirmed by the OCE’s unanimous finding that the congressman had illegally tried to coerce his former business partner to sign a false affidavit – have become too great for him to continue serving in Congress.
“It is time for Rep. Buchanan to go,” stated CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “House Republican leaders – who swore a zero tolerance policy for ethical wrongdoing – should be condemning his conduct and demanding his departure, not playing golf with him in Sarasota.” Sloan continued, “Despite his crimes, Rep. Buchanan continues to lead fundraising for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Of course, it’s easy to raise money if you’re willing to violate the law to do it.”
Rep. Buchanan’s offenses include illegally pressuring partners and employees to make contributions to his campaign committee and then reimbursing them from his corporate funds, pressuring former business partner Sam Kazran to sign a false affidavit in return for settling a lawsuit, improperly using corporate resources for campaign purposes, and filing false personal financial disclosure forms.
CREW first filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission about Rep. Buchanan’s illegal conduit contribution scheme four years ago. Last August, CREW asked the FBI and the OCE to investigate the congressman for obstruction of justice and witness tampering. Rep. Buchanan is currently the focus of a federal criminal investigation in Florida.
CREW also sent a letter to the House Committee on Ethics to refute misstatements by Rep. Buchanan’s lawyers in a response to the OCE report. The response deliberately mischaracterized CREW’s analysis of the affidavit at the center of the inquiry in an effort to undermine the OCE’s findings of wrongdoing.
Sloan noted, “The letter seems to be a continuation of Rep. Buchanan’s overall legal strategy of attacking everyone else’s credibility. Given all the evidence and all the witnesses against him, the House Ethics Committee should realize it is the congressman who can’t be trusted to tell the truth.”