Sunday, April 22, 2018
Politics

Investigators find reason to continue Rep. Vern Buchanan's ethics inquiry

WASHINGTON — Congressional ethics investigators concluded there "is substantial reason to believe" that Sarasota U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, one of the top Republicans in the House, violated ethics laws by failing to report his position with a half-dozen firms, according to records released Monday.

The disclosure of the findings from the Office of Congressional Ethics presents another political complication for Buchanan, who chairs Republican fundraising efforts in the House and is seeking to win a fourth term representing the Sarasota area.

Buchanan has also been dogged by a Federal Election Commission investigation of $90,000 in illegal straw donations to his campaign from employees of his car dealerships. Buchanan has claimed vindication in that probe, which was closed because of questions about the credibility of key witnesses.

The information about Buchanan's incomplete financial disclosures was released Monday by the House Committee on Ethics, which said it was extending its investigation "in order to gather additional information." The case was first referred to the panel in November.

The ethics office identified 17 positions that Buchanan failed to report between 2007 and 2010 at six entities, ranging from real-estate investment companies to his personal foundation. Buchanan amended his disclosures last year after ethics investigators confronted him about the missing information.

The entities named in the release were Boca Creek Development Co.; Bowling Green Dealership LLC; Country Club Shores and Country Club Shores II; Regent Court Association Inc.; and the Vernon G. and Sandra J.C. Buchanan Family Foundation Inc.

Aides to Buchanan say the missing information about the holdings was an innocent oversight commonly made by lawmakers with extensive financial holdings.

Buchanan's attorney, William J. McGinley of Patton Boggs, said the ethics panel's decision to take more time on the case "does not constitute any judgment on the merits."

"The fact is that, in accordance with House rules, Members commonly amend their financial disclosure statements," McGinley said in a statement. "Congressman Buchanan followed the rules, and we are confident that, at the end of its deliberations, the Committee will find no violation."

Buchanan faces an election challenge this year from Democrat Keith Fitzgerald of Sarasota, who could benefit from a revised legislative map that tilts Florida's 13th District in a more Democratic direction.

Comments
Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

WEST PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump said Saturday that he doesn’t expect Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer and fixer, to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen’s business dealings. Trump, in a series of tweets fired from Florida o...
Published: 04/21/18

Vive la France: Trump hosts glitzy White House state dinner

WASHINGTON — Now it’s President Donald Trump’s turn to pull off the ultimate charm offensive. Wined and dined on multiple state visits during his tour of Asia last year, Trump is paying it forward and celebrating nearly 250 years of U.S.-French relat...
Published: 04/21/18
Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

The writer of the letter sounds hysterical. Perhaps a little desperate. And maybe that’s just who Marion Hammer is these days.Most of the world knows her as the take-no-prisoners maven of the National Rifle Association who directs Florida politicians...
Published: 04/21/18
Rick Scott’s term limits idea: Hugely popular and highly unrealistic

Rick Scott’s term limits idea: Hugely popular and highly unrealistic

WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Scott’s first policy idea as a U.S. Senate candidate won’t happen and most of his fellow Republicans don’t support it.But it’s a surefire applause line at political rallies.Scott wants term limits for members of Congress: 12 ye...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

WASHINGTON — Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, is "very upset and disappointed" by comments made by his former boss James Comey that contradict his account of a disclosure to the news media, McCabe’s lawyer said Friday. "Andy has at all ...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

The one thing you can say for sure about electing a mayor in Tampa is you can’t really say anything for sure.Historical proof: A couple of elections ago, Harvard-educated hometown-boy-gone-to-Washington Frank Sanchez was going to be our next mayor, h...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Published: 04/20/18
Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

TAMPA — For months, Tampa political aficionados have speculated: Will she or won’t she?Does Jane Castor, the city’s first woman police chief and presumed heavyweight mayoral candidate, really want the job? Asked and answered. Castor filed paperwork T...
Published: 04/19/18
Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

TAMPA — President Donald Trump has tweeted "trade wars are good, and easy to win."Don’t believe it, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce told Tampa business and political leaders on Wednesday."We share more with you than with anybody els...
Published: 04/19/18
Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

BROOKSVILLE — Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Don Barbee this week submitted his resignation — effective Jan. 7 — to run for an open circuit judge seat.Barbee, who is in the middle of his second term, said he made the move "with a tremendo...
Published: 04/17/18