"Some of these allegations have trickled into the local Florida media in recent weeks, but a fresh investigation by The Huffington Post of internal company documents, public records, and interviews with key players buttresses the plaintiffs' charges and provides a more detailed--and shocking--picture of Buchanan's apparently extensive wrongdoing."
"Vern Buchanan, the Republican fundraiser who took over Katherine Harris's seat in southern Florida, is the fourth richest man in Congress. With assets including some fifteen auto dealerships in Florida and elsewhere, properties in several states, and offshore companies, his net worth is estimated to be well over $100 million."
First elected to Congress in 2006 by only 369 votes after a controversial recount, Buchanan is currently in a tight rematch with Democrat Christine Jennings."Exclusive: Florida GOP Congressman Vern Buchanan Facing Seven Legal Complaints, Accusations Of Wrongdoing From Employees (VIDEO)".
But this former co-chair of the Republican National Finance Committee and top fundraiser for Jeb Bush and Senator Mel Martinez may find his career derailed by seven civil suits that were filed against him, his executives, and his dealerships over the past three months in Sarasota County and Pasco County courts.
The explosive allegations indicate that Buchanan and his dealership employees may have taken part in conspiracy, fraud, and retaliatory personnel actions. The plaintiffs, mainly former employees, describe incidents in which Buchanan and his staff appear to have violated campaign finance laws, hired undocumented workers, bilked customers, threatened employees, sent fraudulent information to banks, and misappropriated funds. Additional lawsuits are expected soon.
Research support for the investigation was provided by the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. More: "Watchdog group blasts Buchanan on campaign finance".
Hill to help
"Hillary Clinton is coming to Palm Beach County on Thursday in an attempt to mend infighting between her fans and those of Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee." "Hillary Clinton to rally for Obama in Boca".
The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "McCain used the arrival of Tropical Storm Fay to demonstrate that he still doesn't support or even understand one of the most important campaign issues for Florida. That would be national disaster insurance, which the House has passed in the form of legislation sponsored by Reps. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, and Tim Mahoney, D-Palm Beach Gardens. Before the January presidential primary, Sen. McCain wrongly stated that the Klein-Mahoney bill would cost taxpayers $200 billion. He also stated wrongly that a better option for repaying big insurance claims would be the Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose mission does not include insurance claims." "Tropical Storm McCain has returned to Florida".
Never forget that Mr. McBush is ... well ... you know ... "stoopid.
Mr. happy face "unfazed"
"Florida's economy has declined more quickly and deeply than the economists have anticipated. That history, though, doesn't faze Crist." "Crist looks to reserves, tobacco settlement to fund part of deficit".
More: "Crist To Throw Reserves At $1.5 Billion Budget Hole" and "Crist to tap reserves to cut budget shortfall".
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "If there were no question that lowering the legal drinking age from 21 to 18 would significantly reduce the incidence of binge-drinking and encourage more responsible alcohol consumption we would wholeheartedly endorse the idea.
Advertisement But with all due respect to the 100 or so college and university presidents who have signed on to a national initiative that proposes lowering the legal drinking age, we have our doubts — and they're deep." "Not so simple: With alcohol abuse, age isn't the main issue".
"Herald Today: Buchanan, Jennings face complaints on finances".
Race to take down Ric
"With less than a week before the primary election, two Democrats vying for Congress are flooding the airwaves to reach Central Florida voters. Alan Grayson and Charlie Stuart, two of the five candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House seat now held by Republican Rep. Ric Keller, each have TV spots scheduled to run in heavy rotation right up until the polls close Tuesday." "Sentinel: Grayson, Stuart spend big on TV ads in U.S. House race".
A FlaDem thing
"Florida Democrats may seek to remove the Democratic candidate who filed for the state House seat being vacated by Trey Traviesa, so they can replace him with a stronger candidate. The reason: When the candidate, Lewis Laricchia, qualified to run for the office he wasn't a Democrat, even though he signed a legally required, sworn statement saying he was." "District 56 Democratic Candidate May Get Boot".
"Fla. man pleads not guilty to Bush, Obama threat".
Back to work
"It's back to the polls today for early voting, the state-required program costing Broward taxpayers about $200,000 for the Aug. 26 primary. Early voting was canceled Monday and Tuesday as officials battened down the hatches to prepare for Tropical Storm Fay. It's not as if many people were inconvenienced. Total voters during the first seven days of early voting, through Sunday: 8,800." "Suspension of early voting didn't affect many people".
"Credit for coming"? You'd think it was a meeting of the Knights of the White Camellia
"They were respectful and polite -- applauding at the appropriate times -- but afterward, there was no rush to buy the new guy a drink."
"This just really isn't his crowd," said a conventioneer from Pennsylvania who declined to give his name. "But I give him credit for coming.""Obama touts patriotism in appeal to VFW convention in Orlando". "Walter Sandell, a 70-year-old veteran from New Jersey, noted that the group's leaders who shared the stage with Obama didn't hide their preference for McCain."
'Some of the people who were enthusiastic and demonstrated support for what McCain was saying refused to clap when Obama said things that are in line with veterans' interests,'' he said. ``They demonstrated their indifference to Obama in a visible manner, even though this convention is supposed to be nonpolitical.''"Obama gets ovation from VFW" (Obama apparently received a gratuitous "standing ovation by the end").
Mail ballot deadline
"The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 5 p.m. Wednesday. The request has to be at the Supervisor of Elections Office by phone, mail or in person by 5 p.m. that day." "Absentee ballot deadline today".
It even has words and stuff
If you can bear it, Scott Maxwell has the scoop on "Mel's memoir."
"While it can be done at the polls, 'it's inconvenient for [voters],' said Mary Cooney, director of public services at the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office." "Moved? Update your address with elections office".
Enough with Mica
"Two first-time candidates are vying in the Democratic primary Tuesday for a shot at unseating 15-year incumbent John Mica, R- Winter Park. Faye Armitage, 50, of St. Johns County is an economics professor-turned-grass-roots activist. Clyde Malloy, 48, is a retired law-enforcement officer living in Ormond Beach, where he and his wife rehabilitate houses." "Political newcomers vie to topple GOP's entrenched John Mica in U.S. House District 7 race".
"Tom Feeney eager to make sure his foe is the 'crazy' one".".
"The Florida Supreme Court will judge the legality of three proposed constitutional amendments early next month as county elections supervisors anxiously wait to see which ones will survive to Election Day. The 1st District Court of Appeal bumped up consideration of the challenged tax-swap amendment to the state's highest court on Tuesday. The state is appealing Circuit Judge John Cooper's ruling that threw Amendment 5 off the Nov. 4 ballot because he said its title and summary language are misleading." "Florida Supreme Court to review legality of proposed amendments".
The Miami Herald editorial board: "One might be tempted to dismiss State Farm Insurance Co.'s latest rate-hike request as a not-so-funny joke, except that the request is serious and not at all funny. If granted, the average yearly premium on a $300,000 home built before 2001 in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties would be, respectively: $23,414; $21,514; and $42,919. Yikes! " "Heads, I win; tails, you lose".
Judge for sale
"Miami-Dade's judicial races are more subdued -- and stingier -- this election than in the past, with fewer candidates raising less money. There are only nine contested races, compared to 16 in 2006, and only one three-way contest, meaning there are 19 candidates versus the 35 who ran two years ago." "Money, primaries cool races for Miami-Dade bench".
"Republican presidential candidate John McCain visited this oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday to call for increased offshore drilling that he claims would lower the cost of food and heating homes." "McCain touts drilling agenda from oil platform".
DNA testing the "bag of urine"?
Sally Swartz: "Campaign vandals are hitting the Martin County Commission candidates who support controlled [sic] growth: Ian Pollack in District 5 (Palm City) and Henry Copeland in District 1 (Jensen Beach and Sewall's Point). Someone chopped down their signs, including some that were on private property in North Stuart and in Hobe Sound, and used the wood to break a businessman's window. Other vandals left a bag of urine on the doorstep of Dave Shore, spokesman for Witham Airport Action Majority, a group that fights to restrict the number of jet landings at the airport and thus make life easier for those who live near Witham. WAAM supports Mr. Pollack and Mr. Copeland." "Martin's campaign posse".
"Command center" phonies
Daniel Ruth writes that "the dirty little secret of public service is: All governors love even the merest hint of impending doom."
Jeb Bush was in his element during hurricane season, taking time out from posing for holy pictures to appear at the "command center," to show off by speaking Spanish."Prediction: You Will Get Very Wet". The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Here we go again." "Fay blows through Florida".
Charlie Crist, too, can find a respite from his budget woes to appear in the "command center" looking like he is - well, in command.
The golf shirt is a nice touch, as well.
Isn't this a bit much?: "National Guard headed to Brevard as Fay moves north".
Florida Clintonistas holding out for inaugural ball ticks
Adam C. Smith reminds us that "a lot of Democrats are still holding out hope for a Clinton-Obama ticket."
"He can win Florida with Hillary Clinton on the ticket, and I don't think he can win it without her,'' said Miami lawyer Ira Leesfield, a top Clinton money raiser. "With Hillary Clinton, he gets a bump in the Hispanic community and a bump in the Jewish community and a huge bump among women.""Campaigns keep veep picks corked".
But there's that pesky problem of how to deal with Bill Clinton, who recently declined to say in a TV interview that Obama is ready to be president and raised eyebrows Monday by praising John McCain on energy issues.
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "America's streets and highways are getting safer for motorists, unless your choice of transportation has two wheels." "The Legislature needs to again make motorcycle helmets mandatory".
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Tampa's firefighters asking for too much".
Labels: "Fresh investigation" uncovers "explosive allegations" against Vern