Corrine Brown Steps Down as Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member

Move follows her indictment in charity fraud scheme

Florida Rep. Corrine Brown touted her work on the Veterans' Affairs committee in a statement following her indictment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Following the news of her indictment on fraud charges, Florida Democrat Corrine Brown announced she is temporarily stepping down as the ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.  

“I am innocent of the charges announced today, and intend to vigorously defend myself in court against these politically motivated allegations,” the congresswoman said in a statement Friday.  

Brown said that "due to House rules," she is temporarily stepping down “to avoid potential distractions from the important work of this committee,” and she noted her work on homeless veterans, women’s issues and healthcare.  

“I am certain this will not be a distraction from my service to the people of Florida’s 5th Congressional District who elected me, and I am confident I will be cleared of these charges,” she wrote.  

Brown and her chief of staff, Elias "Ronnie" Simmons , were indicted for their involvement in "a conspiracy and fraud scheme" that involved an education charity, the Justice Department announced Friday.  

They were charged with 24 counts, among them mail and wire fraud, theft of government property, and filing false tax returns.  

In April 2015 when New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez was indicted on corruption charges, he temporarily stepped down from his post as ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  

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