CREW Files FEC Complaint Against Rep. Vern Buchanan
Washington, D.C. - 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.
CREW’s executive director Melanie Sloan said today, “the allegations against Rep. Buchanan, which are backed up with affidavits and a bank deposit slip, suggests serious violations of campaign finance law. The FEC should investigate and refer the matter to the Department of Justice for further action.”