House Ethics Committee Clears Vern Buchanan

Panel cites insufficient evidence against Florida congressman

The House Ethics Committee cleared Florida Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan over allegations that he improperly tampered with witness testimony and misused campaign funds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Four years after it launched an investigation into allegations of improper dealings by Rep. Vern Buchanan, the House Ethics Committee announced Friday it is dropping the case.   

[ Read: Ethics Report on Vernon Buchanan ]  

The committee reviewed allegations that the Florida Republican was involved with coercing a former business partner to sign a false affidavit to the Federal Election Commission in violation of federal law and House rules. Another allegation suggested that several car dealerships partially owned by Buchanan illegally reimbursed their employees for contributions to his campaign.  

[ An Ethics Conflict Avoidance Period? ]  

Besides the committee, Buchanan had been investigated on the matters by four different agencies since 2012, including the committee, the FEC, the Office of Congressional Ethics and the Justice Department .  

A Florida court also cleared the five-term congressman in a lawsuit filed by the former business partner.  

Buchanan said in a statement that he was pleased with the outcome. 

“The committee conducted a thorough review of the facts and reached a unanimous and bipartisan conclusion that I did nothing wrong,” he said.

The committee found "insufficient evidence" to conclude Buchanan was linked to any wrongdoing.  

The report also stated that the investigation took longer than normal due to coinciding investigations. The committee typically defers its inquiry if a criminal investigation is also being conducted.  

On Friday, the committee also announced it was dropping its investigation of Rep. Chaka Fattah, after the Pennsylvania Democrat resigned Thursday following a corruption conviction .  

Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter at @remawriter.

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