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CREW FBI Complaint Against Vern Buchanan

CREW FBI Complaint Against Vern Buchanan

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Published by: Michael Robert Hussey on Aug 25, 2011
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09/13/2013

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CRE
'V.T
I
citizens.for.
respon~ibility
,VV
and
ethicsInwashington
August24,2011JamesW.McjunkinAssistantDirectorinChargeFBIWashingtonFieldOffice6014thStreet,N.W.Washington,D.C.20535BYHANDRe:RequestforInvestigationintoConductofRep.VernBuchananCR-FL)DearAssistantDirectorMcJunkin:CitizensforResponsibilityandEthicsinWashington("CREW")respectfullyrequeststhattheFederalBureauofInvestigationcommenceanimmediateinvestigationintowhetherRep.VernBuchanan(R-FL)tamperedwithawitnessandobstructedaFederalElectionCommission("FEC")investigationbytryingtocoercehisformerbusinesspartnerintosigningafalseaffidavitdeclaringRep.Buchananhadnoinvolvementin,orknowledgeof,anillegalconduitcontributionscheme.
Bacground
Rep.BuchananownedseveralcardealershipsinFloridaandotherstateswhenhelaunchedhisfirstcampaignforCongressin2005.
I
ThesedealershipsincludedVeniceNissanDodge,SarasotaFord,andHyundaiofNorthJacksonville("HNJ,,).2
Rep.Buchanan'sReimbursementScheme
AccordingtoRep.Buchanan'sformerpartnerinHNJ,SamKazran,aswellasseveralotherformeremployeesofRep.Buchanan'sdealerships,partnersandemployeeswhomadecontributionstoRep.Buchanan'scongressionalcampaignswerereimbursedwithcorporate
I
RepublicanSeeksSeat,
BradentonHerald,
June29,2005(attachedasExhibitA);VernonG.Buchanan,PersonalFinancialDisclosureStatementforJanuary
1.
2004-ApriI30,2006,filedMay12,2006(excerptsattachedasExhibitB).
2Id.
1400EyeStreet,N.w.,Suite450,Washington,D.C.20005
I
202.408.5565phone
I
202.588.5020fax
I
.~,
 
JamesW.McJunkinAugust24,2011Page2funds.Mr.KazranclaimedRep.BuchananpersonallyinstructedhimtoengageinthereimbursementschemeatHNJandanotherdealership.'InasworndepositiontotheFEC,Mr.KazranexplainedthatinJuly2005-aroundthetimeRep.BuchananlaunchedhiscampaignforCongress-Rep.BuchananaskedhimtocontributetotheBuchanancampaign,"andhecontributedthemaximumpermittedbylaw.'Subsequently,Rep.BuchananpressuredMr.Kazrantoraisemoremoneyforthe
campaign."
WhenMr.Kazransaidhedidnothavethemoneytodoso,Rep.Buchananresponded:"Well,don'tyouhavesomebodyatthedealershipyoucantrust?Justrunitthroughthe
corporation."?
Mr.KazranbelievedRep.Buchananwasinstructinghim"tohavesomeonewritethecheckpersonallyandthengivethembackthemoneythroughthe
corporation."
Mr.KazrannotedanotherHNJexecutive,JoshFarid,waswithhimwhenRep.Buchanandiscussedthis
3
FederalElectionCommission,ConfidentialInvestigativeDepositionofSamKazran,November6,2009("KazranDeposition")(attachedasExhibitC).
4
KazranDeposition,pp.7-8.
5
Id.,
pp.11-12;
seealso
VernBuchananforCongress,FECForm3,OctoberQuarterlyReport,October14,2005(listingMr.Kazran'scontributionsunderthespelling"SamKhazrwan")(excerptsattachedasExhibitD).
6
KazranDeposition,p.13.Mr.KazransuggestedRep.BuchanantoldMr.KazranhewouldconsidertakinglessmoneyforabuyoutifMr.Kazranraised$25,000or$50,000withinseveraldays.
Id.,
pp.13,35.
7
Id.,
p.13.Mr.KazranrecountedRep.Buchanan'sinstructionstofindpeoplehecouldtrustandruntheirreimbursementsthroughthecorporationseveraltimesinhisdeposition.
Seeid.,
p.21("Iinstructed[employees]towriteacheckandreimbursethemselvesfor[it]-becauseMr.Buchananhadaskedmetogetmoney.Andhespecificallytoldmegetsomeoneyoutrustandrunitthoughthecorporation.");
id.,
p.32("Andhesaidtome,hesays,Getsomebodyyoutrustandgetthemoneyoutofthecorporation.");
id.
("Hehadaskedmetogetmoney,Itoldhim,Isaid,IthoughtyousaidI'mmaxedout?I'vealreadygivenyouthatmoney.Andhesaid,Well,justgetsomebodyyoutrustandrunitthroughthecorporation.");
id.,
p.36("AndwhenItoldhimthatIdon'thaveit,hesays,Well,getsomebodyyoutrustandrunitthroughthecorporation.");
id.,
p.37("AndIsaid,YoualreadytoldmeIcan'tgiveanymoney.Hesays,Don'tyouhavesomebody,likeyourbrotherorsomeoneyoutrustthatyoucangettowriteacheckforme?...Runitthroughthecorporation.").
8
KazranDeposition,p.14.
Seealso,id.,
p.37("Somyunderstandingwas:Getsomeoneyoucantrust,havethemwriteapersonalcheckandreimbursethem.").
 
James
W.
McjunkinAugust24,2011Page3reimbursementscheme."Mr.FaridhasconfirmedMr.Kazran'saccount,recountingthatRep.Buchananwas"talkingto[Mr.Kazran]aboutraisingmoneyandthecampaigncontributions,"andtoldhim"'Youcangetthatmoneyreimbursedthroughthedealership.
",10
AnotherHNJemployeesimilarlyassertedRep.Buchananknewaboutthecontributionreimbursements.
II
Mr.Kazrantestifiedfurtherhewas"veryconfident"Rep.Buchananalsotoldhisotherpartnerstoengageinreimbursementschemes,andpersonallyobservedoneconversationinwhichRep.Buchanandid
SO.12
AccordingtoMr.Kazran,atonepartnershipmeetingRep.Buchananapproachedhiscompany'schiefoperatingofficer,DennisSlater,andtoldhim
"I
haven'tgottenyourcheck
yet.?"
WhenMr.Slaterrespondedhewas"hopingtotakeapass,"Rep.Buchanansaid,"Don'tworry.Youknowyou'regoingtogetit
back.?"
TwoformerVeniceNissanDodgeemployeesdescribedthereimbursementschemeatthatdealershipinswornaffidavits.CarloA.Bell,VeniceNissanDodge'sformerfinancedirector,statedthatonSeptember15,2005,thedealership'sgeneralmanager,DonCaldwell,toldhimandtwootheremployeestheyneededtocontributetoRep.Buchanan'scampaign,andexplainedthedealershipwouldgivethem$1,000incashinexchangeforwriting$1,000checkstothecampaign."Mr.Bellaskedifthiswaslegal,butratherthananswering,Mr.CaldwellinsteadaskedifMr.Bellwasontheteamornot.
16
Afraidhemightlosehisjob,Mr.Bellagreedtowritethecheck,asdidtheothertwoemployeesinthe
meeting."
Mr.Belllaterlearnedtwomore
9
Id.,
pp.13,32.
10
VirginiaChamlee,MoreFormerBuchananEmployeesSpeakOutAboutPressureToDonate,ReimbursementScheme,
FloridaIndependent,
August5,2011(attachedasExhibitE).
II
Id.
12
KazranDeposition,p.14.
13Id.,
pp.14-15.
14
Id.,
p.15.
Seealsoid.,
pp.31.
15
FECComplaintfiledbyCitizensforResponsibilityandEthicsinWashington,CarloBellandDavidPadilla,AffidavitofCarloA.Bell,filedAugust19,2008(complaintandexhibitsattachedasExhibitF).
16Id.17Id.

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