In fiery remarks on Friday that briefly turned into a plea for donations, a defiant Rep. Corrine Brown called the Justice Department’s investigation of her financial dealings “an organized effort to take me out.”
The Florida Democrat, who also is facing scrutiny over the matter by the House Ethics Committee, said she was confident that she would come out unscathed.
“I am clean," Brown said. "Goodness, clean. Yes.”
Answering questions from reporters in a restaurant on Friday in Tallahassee, Brown refused to comment on the cases further.
“They told me to zip it,” Brown said of her attorneys. “I don’t know what you think I’m going to say.”
The Justice Department issued a subpoena in January and the Ethics Committee announced its own probe on Wednesday. But the committee will defer its work so long as the DOJ is investigating.
Investigators are looking into allegations that Brown used campaign funds for personal purposes, failed to comply with tax laws and made false statements and disclosures to the House and the Federal Election Commission.
Brown was also in federal court Friday for a separate high-profile fight she is having over the redrawing of her district, which includes parts of Jacksonville and Orlando. She said fighting legal cases was expensive, which led to a call for donations.
“Help. Send money,” Brown shouted back to a group of supporters she helped bus to the courthouse and the restaurant.
But she evaded a reporter’s question about whether she was seeking financial assistance for the redistricting case or help to pay for attorneys she’s using in the ethics investigation.
Brown said she did not address the investigations to her constituents saying “they know the answer.”
“They don’t have any questions for me because they know me,” Brown told reporters.
“And support her,” someone yelled in the background.
Brown also refused to answer a question about whether she used her campaign account or her personal account to bus in the supporters on Friday. She said someone else paid to feed them, but wouldn’t say who.
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