CREW Files FOIA Requests Seeking Records from DOJ Investigation into Rep. Vern Buchanan
Today CREW sent Freedom of Information Act requests to the Criminal Division, FBI, and Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys seeking records from the Department of Justice’s criminal investigation of Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL). CREW made these requests in light of the announcement yesterday by one of Rep. Buchanan’s lawyers that DOJ had closed its investigation and was not going to bring any criminal charges against Rep. Buchanan. In August 2011, CREW requested that the FBI commence an investigation into whether Rep. Buchanan tampered with a witness and obstructed a Federal Election Commission (FEC) investigation by trying to coerce his former business partner into signing a false affidavit.
Separately, the FEC concluded that while it was “more likely than not” Rep. Buchanan violated federal election laws, there were questions about the credibility of one of the witnesses. As a result the FEC declined to take action against Rep. Buchanan, but it did reach settlements with other individuals and car dealerships who made conduit contributions and excessive contributions to Rep. Buchanan’s campaign. Through its FOIA requests, CREW seeks to learn why DOJ declined to prosecute Rep. Buchanan despite the wealth of evidence Rep. Buchanan violated criminal laws.