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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dems want G-men to probe Buchanan



The Florida Democratic Party today called on the FBI to investigate the allegations that Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, violated campaign finance law by pressuring employees to donate to his campaign and allowing his campaign to reimburse those who did.

"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. Based on the seriousness of the charges being made, it is only appropriate that the FBI and other authorities begin investigating these allegations," FDP spokesman Eric Jotkoff said.

The Herald Tribune recently reported that two former executives at Buchanan's car dealerships contend they were said they were pressured to donate to Buchanan's 2006 congressional campaign and were offered cash and gifts in return. Buchanan's lawyer says they're lying.

The GOP said the Democrats' attack was simply timed to coincide with this week's visits by Gov. Charlie Crist and Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer on Buchanan's behalf. RPOF spokeswoman Erin VanSickle also mentioned Jennings' tax troubles: Her campaign failed to pay tens of thousands of dollars in payroll taxes during her 2004 and 2006 races for Congress.

By now, voters in Florida District 13 must be use to political hijinks. Buchanan narrowly defeated Democrat Christine Jennings in that disputed election in 2006. (She's staging a rematch this year). And this was the seat once held by Republican Katherine Harris.

"Jennings and the Democrats are obviously trying to deflect attention from the fact," VanSickle said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:07am]


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