Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

What Matters

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stop Him Before He Runs Again

Jeremy Wallace reports, hilariously, that Vern Buchanan has his eye on "higher office."
"I don't know where my public service will take me," he said. "This is my starting point. I don't know where it evolves to."
Um. Wow.


Because I think it might evolve A.) to you cleaning out your office when Christine Jennings beats you, and then B.) the dustbin of history. Say hi to Kitty Harris for us, won't you?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh Noes! Panicked Buchanan Begs McSame to Visit Former GOP-Stronghold of Sarasota

John McCain is having to come to Sarasota -- an area he should be winning handily -- at the behest of soon-to-be defeated Congressman and thug Vern Buchanan.

Said soon-to-be re-elected state representative Keith Fitzgerald: "When McCain is having to spend time shoring up Sarasota, they have a problem on their hands and they know it."


Here's the analysis of failed Sarasota Republican chairman Eric Robinson. Watch for him to be posting his resume around town very, very soon. Maybe he and Vern can go into some sort of corrupt business together that will eventually fail.
Robinson discounted the chances that Sarasota County could fall to Obama. Instead, Robinson said that McCain was coming to Sarasota because the county posted record voter turnout in 2004 and has historically been a Republican stronghold. That year 82 percent of registered voters turned out, 54 percent of them for Bush.

"It's not that we're in play, it's that they need us to balance out the east coast of Florida," Robinson said.

Hey, you can either take the word of the guy that won an election in Sarasota -- and part of Manatee -- in 2006, or you can believe that they need to "balance out" the rest of the state. Yes, that old famous political tactic, "balancing out."

According to Real Clear Politics, Obama is up +2.

FiveThirtyEight has Florida looking mighty blue.

Sure, Eric. Just going for "balance." Whatever you say.

Boy, can you imagine that panicky phone call from thug Vern to McCain?

SOME CHIPPER McCAIN CAMPAIGN WORKER: Good morning, McCain Campaign! Country First!

THUG VERN: Yeah, give me John McCain.

SCMCW: Who may I say is calling?

V: It's Congressman Vern Buchanan. It's urgent.

SCMCW: And may I tell him what's it's regarding, Congr...

V: Goddamit! Get him on the goddam phone! It's a fucking emergency!

SCMCS [startled]: Ye... Yes, sir (sob)... have a blessed day... and remember! Countr...

V: Get him on the goddam phone right now!

SCMCS: (sob!) (transfer's call)

JOHN McCAIN: McCain here.

V: Jesus, John. Thank God. I just talked to Eric at the Sarasota Republican Party H-Q. It's a disaster. A fucking disaster!

JM: Calm down, my friend. What's going on?

V: Jesus, John -- don't Davis and Schmidt show you any polls? We're losing Florida!

JM: My friend, what did you say, my friend?

V: Goddamit. John. Listen to me. We're losing Florida. And it's starting in Sarasota. You've got to get down here.

JM: My friend, I will be down there, my friend, immediately, my friend. People need to hear the truth about Barack Obama, my friend. For example, my friend, did you know, my friend, that he, my friend, is, my friend, a Muslim, my friend? Also, my friend, a, my friend, communist? Also, my friend, a terrorist? And, finally, my friend, he will, my friend, raise your taxes.

V: Senator, you may want to lay off the 'my friend' stuff just a bit. Jesus.

JM: I'm on my way, Vern, my friend. We'll do what we can to shore up Sarasota. But tell Eric, my friend, when he talks to the press that we're doing something like balancing out the rest of the state, my friend.

V: Okay, Senator, will do.

JM: Thank you my friend.

V: [sigh] Thanks, Senator. We'll see you soon. [away from phone] Hey, are those bundled checks still coming in? [hangup]


We can take Florida. And it will, in fact, start in Sarasota. Two more weeks.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fla. Dems Good on Environment, Reps Not So Much

The League of Conservation Voters released their scorecards for Congress. Can you guess what the pattern is? Of Florida Republicans, only Ileana Ros-Lehtinen does as good as any Democrat and that's only one person. Beyond that, all Democrats do way better than all Republicans. No shocker there.

Alcee Hastings (D), 92%
Ron Klein (D), 92%
Timothy Mahoney (D), 92%
Kendrick Meek (D), 92%
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D), 92%
Bill Nelson (D), 91%
F. Allen Boyd (D), 85%
Corrine Brown (D), 85%
Kathy Castor (D), 85%
Robert Wexler (D), 69%
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R), 69%
Vern Buchanan (R), 62%
Gus Bilirakis (R), 38%
Ginny Brown-Waite (R), 38%
Mario Diaz-Balart (R), 38%
C.W. Bill Young (R), 38%
Mel Martinez (R), 36%
Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R), 31%
Ander Crenshaw (R), 15%
Ric Keller (R), 15%
Connie Mack (R), 8%
John Mica (R), 8%
Adam Putnam (R), 8%
Dave Weldon (R), 8%
Tom Feeney (R), 0%
Jeff Miller (R), 0%
Cliff Stearns (R), 0%

Esquire Endorsement

Esquire endorsed Christine Jennings over Buchanan:

This one was close in 2006--Buchanan edged our pick, Jennings, by just 369 votes--and it will likely be close again. But not if word gets out about the seven lawsuits--from hiring illegal immigrants to sexual harrassment--now filed against Buchanan by employees at his car dealerships.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

AD WATCH: Buchanan Continues False Attacks Against Jennings

Continuing a campaign strategy built on misrepresenting the record of Christine Jennings, Vern Buchanan’s latest ad, released late last week, makes several false claims about Jennings’ record on taxes, while avoiding answering serious questions raised about his own record.

“Not surprisingly, Buchanan continues to run away from his own record by lying about Christine Jennings,” said Jennings spokesperson Melissa Smith. “Buchanan willfully misrepresents Christine Jennings’ record on taxes in this ad, once again breaking his pledge for positive campaigning, while failing to mention serious issues he’s personally faced with the IRS.

“This is another attempt to distract from the serious questions that have been raised by the more than 180 lawsuits filed against Buchanan and his businesses over the past 20 years, including nine since May of this year. Instead of directly answering the legitimate questions about allegations of consumer fraud, bank fraud and illegal campaign contributions raised by these lawsuits, Buchanan’s campaign has yet again lashed out with an ad made up entirely of false claims.”


Buchanan Claim: “Markets are in turmoil…jobs lost…pensions in jeopardy. The last thing we need is a tax increase, but Christine Jennings is for higher taxes on Social Security, on families, seniors, small business…”

FACT: Christine Jennings will provide real tax relief.

* Jennings supports a range of policies to provide middle class tax relief, include raising the estate tax exemption, making higher education more affordable and providing relief from skyrocketing homeowners' insurance rates. Jennings supports ending the marriage penalty, extending child tax credits and providing tax credits and simplifying the tax code for small businesses.

FACT: Christine Jennings will protect Social Security for our seniors.

* Jennings is the only candidate in the race to be endorsed by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. She has consistently and unequivocally opposed risky privatization schemes for Social Security, and has been clear about her commitment to ensuring Social Security remains solvent for current retirees and future generations.

FACT: Vern Buchanan supports President Bush’s Social Security plan, putting seniors’ retirement at risk.

* Buchanan says he's against privatizing Social Security, but told the AARP that he does support creating personal retirement accounts, like those advocated by President Bush. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 10/26/06]

Buchanan Claim: “What’s worse, she wants to raise your taxes, but admitted she didn’t pay her own for three years.”

FACT: The article cited by Buchanan was about how Jennings found and corrected the tax mistake, which was related to her campaign, not her personal taxes.

* Federal Election Commission records show that on May 23, Jennings made the final payment to the IRS to square the [campaign] tax bill…She said the mistake was found by her staff, and not by the IRS, which does not comment on private tax disputes. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 8/01/07]

FACT: Buchanan has had tax problems – after an eight-year-long tax dispute with IRS, Buchanan had to pay $1.3 in penalties and interest.

* “It took eight years of court battles, but by 2002 the parties had settled and Buchanan paid the $1.2 million he always insisted was the real amount he owed. But during the time he fought the tax, penalties and interest piled up and the IRS charged him another $1.3 million.” [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 6/14/08]

FACT: Buchanan has allegedly practiced tax avoidance strategies, including structuring real estate deals to evade taxes.

* “A multimillionaire with vast business holdings, Buchanan cut his own taxes on two real estate deals that experts say were structured to avoid paying more than $300,000 to the federal and state governments…Even if such transactions are common, [real estate expert Robert] Stern said, state revenue officials ‘could very well have determined that this violated the doc stamp laws. This was a complicated transaction with lots of layers and lots of details elaborately put together,’ [Stern] said, ‘and one of those benefits may have been to avoid the transfer taxes.’” [St. Petersburg Times, 9/21/08]

FACT: Buchanan also uses “controversial” “offshore tax havens” for the “wealthy” that the IRS Commissioner wanted to eliminate.

* “Congressional candidate Vern Buchanan uses offshore reinsurance companies in Bermuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands to reduce taxes on extended warranties sold by his auto dealerships…These tax avoidance strategies are controversial. The Internal Revenue Service has stepped up efforts in recent years to investigate offshore reinsurance companies, and IRS Commissioner Mark Everson has urged lawmakers to change laws that help the wealthy benefit from these offshore tax havens.” [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 10/31/06]

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Republicans Don't Support Troops As Well As Dems

Check out the latest scorecards from Disabled American Veterans and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America...


Bill Nelson, 100
Allen Boyd, 100
Corrine Brown, 100
Kendrick Meek, 100
Robert Wexler, 100
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, 100
Alcee Hastings, 100

Mel Martinez, 60
Jeff Miller, 66
Ander Crenshaw, 66
Ginny Brown-Waite, 66
Cliff Stearns, 66
John Mica, 66
Ric Keller, 50
C.W. Bill Young, 66
Adam Putnam, 66
Connie Mack, 66
David Weldon, 66
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, 66
Lincoln Diaz-Balart, 66
Tom Feeney, 66
Mario Diaz-Balart, 66

Notice a pattern here? All of the Dems have 100%, while none of the Republicans has anything better than a mid-range "D." So much for supporting disabled troops.


Bill Nelson, A+
Allen Boyd, A
Corrine Brown, A
Kathy Castor, A
Timothy Mahoney, A
Kendrick Meek, B
Robert Wexler, A
D. Wasserman Schultz, A+
Ron Klein, A+
Alcee Hastings, A

Mel Martinez, B
Jeff Miller, B
Ander Crenshaw, B
G. Brown-Waite, B
Cliff Stearns, B
John Mica, B
Ric Keller, A
Gus Bilirakis, A
C.W. Bill Young, B
Adam Putnam, C
Vern Buchanan, B
Connie Mack, B
Dave Weldon, C
I. Ros-Lehtinen, A
L. Diaz-Balart, B
Tom Feeney, B
M. Diaz-Balart, B

Republicans do a little better on this one, with Keller, Bilirakis and Ros-Lehtinen all getting an "A." Dems still do better, Meek has the lowest grade on our side of the aisle, and he still has a "B." The only "A+" grades amongst Florida's delegation are Dems and the only grades below "B" are all Republicans. Again, which party actually supports the troops?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Crazy Florida Republican Quote of the Day

Ladies and gentlemen, your Repubican Party:

The independent survey shows Buchanan leads Jennings 49% to 33%, confirming previous polls that have shown Buchanan with a large double-digit lead over Jennings.

Independent Jan Schneider is winning 9 percent of the total vote, much of it from Democrats and Independents. A fourth candidate on the ballot, unaffiliated Dan Baldauf, is getting 3 percent of the total vote, and like Schneider, is pulling more votes from Democrats than from Republicans. .

“This poll confirms that Vern’s positive message of change is resonating with the voters while Christine Jennings’ negative and dishonest campaign has backfired,” said campaign spokeswoman Sally Tibbetts. “We take nothing for granted and will continue to campaign hard right up until the election and continue talking about the issues that matter to people – economic growth, jobs, energy and national security.”

By definition, an incumbent can't have a "positive message of change," unless he's retiring. Sally Tibbetts' statement confirms that the use of logic and the English language is not resonating with Sally's own mind.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Corrupt Buchanan Apparently Supports Nation of Lawyers

At some point I would think corrupt thug Congressman Vern Buchanan would just keel over from sheer embarrassment.

He has now taken it upon himself to sue a former colleague for allegedly defaulting on a loan.

Really, Vern?


Given the rather lengthy expose from the St. Petersburg Times a few days ago, I'd think this would be something Vern would want to avoid. At least for the sake of politics.

Apparently not.

"Shame" is evidently not in Vern's vocabulary:

...Buchanan left Michigan just as American Speedy [the company he founded] verged on a spectacular collapse. Angry franchise owners accused him of mismanagement, deceit and outright fraud. Michigan's attorney general was threatening to shut down the company. In 1992, American Speedy landed in bankruptcy court, followed by dozens of store owners, some of whom lost their life savings.


In eight lawsuits filed since May, former employees accuse Buchanan of bilking customers of his auto dealerships, employing illegal immigrants to help build his house and violating federal campaign finance laws by reimbursing donors for campaign contributions.

Buchanan denies the allegations and says they are politically motivated. They surfaced so close to the election that he has virtually no time to disprove them in court.

But the court record is settled in Michigan, where Buchanan left a trail of lawsuits, judgments and settlements.

"Whatever he's involved in, at best he's being opportunistic," says Ben C. Maibach III, among the American Speedy franchisees who sued Buchanan. "You won't find many people in Michigan who have any respect for Vern or anything good to say about him."


Buchanan liked the franchising concept so much that in 1976 he and James W. McDonald started American Speedy Printing Centers and began selling franchises.


In fact, they had a bitter falling out. It led to extensive litigation, including a lawsuit in which 10 Business Card store owners claimed Buchanan and American Speedy had wrongfully transferred assets between the two companies, sold "antique" equipment to stores and vastly overstated the earnings potential of franchise

Hm, a corrupt businessman who bilked a lot of good and honest people out of their money and the cut and run before anyone caught on, at the expense of the little guy. Sounds an awful lot like a certain financial situation our nation collectively finds itself in today...

Vern Buchanan: not the kind of guy you want in Washington. Especially these days.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jennings Fact-Checks Buchanan Ad

AD WATCH: Buchanan Makes False Claims to Distract From Ethical Problems

Misrepresents newspaper quotes in connection with lawsuits

SARASOTA, FL – September 18, 2008 – In an ad that began airing earlier this week, Rep. Vern Buchanan misuses quotes and logos from newspapers and television stations to deflect from allegations of campaign fraud and unethical business practices stemming from recent lawsuits against himself and his businesses.

“Once again, Rep. Buchanan is avoiding responding to these serious allegations. Instead of any explanations, Buchanan releases an ad that distorts the words of the media to divert attention away from the real issue – his inability to be open and honest with the people he represents,” said Christine Jennings spokesperson Melissa Smith. “Vern Buchanan should give voters clear and direct answers about these serious allegations, instead of spending millions to blanket the airwaves with misrepresentations.”


Buchanan Claim: “Ugly, Character Assassination, False – that’s what the press is saying about the politically motivated attacks on Vern Buchanan.

FACT: Buchanan has taken quotes out of context to misrepresent the press’s coverage of lawsuits filed against him and his businesses.

“Ugly” (Bradenton Herald, June 20, 2008): This selective quotation is nearly three months old, does not refer to any of the charges in the pending lawsuits, and is about the “Buchanan-Jennings duel.” “The Buchanan-Jennings duel has yet to start in full force, and it's already getting ugly. Like last time.” [Bradenton Herald, 6/20/08]

“Character assassination” (Bradenton Herald, August 3, 2008): Buchanan again quotes out of context from the Bradenton Herald editorial, in which Jennings’ campaign manager goes on the record as saying the campaign is "absolutely not" connected to the lawsuits, which is what the Herald was editorializing as “character assassination.” [Bradenton Herald, 8/3/08]

FACT: Buchanan has consistently refused to answer questions about the pending lawsuits against him

“False” (WFLA, August 15, 2008): According to transcripts, WFLA reporters and anchors have never editorialized on the merits of the claims against Buchanan. In fact, Buchanan actually fled when asked about the allegations against by WFLA reporter Mark Douglas at a press conference; in response to a question about allegations by former Buchanan employee Carlo Bell, Buchanan would only respond, “I’m running to catch a plane.” [WFLA, 07/29/08]

Buchanan Claim: One even said, ‘be skeptical of these accusations.’”

FACT: Buchanan’s Businesses Have a History of Ending Up in Court

The ad fails to mention that, given Buchanan’s long history of lawsuits against him and his businesses, these accusations should be fully investigated. Over the years, Buchanan and his businesses have been sued more than 180 times. []

Buchanan has previously run a business that ran into numerous lawsuits, including several that he was forced to settle. The bankruptcy, lawsuits related to his time running American Speedy and a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service over the money he received from Merrill Lynch stretched through the 1990s. As Buchanan was building his Florida business empire, he was still dealing with the fallout from the one crumbling in Michigan.

Buchanan and American Speedy were defendants in a string of lawsuits during the late 1980s and early 1990s by franchisees and master franchisees, who said they were not making the money that Buchanan had said they could expect.

Many former associates didn't return calls. Others cited confidentiality agreements from settled lawsuits or said that they feared Buchanan would sue them if they spoke publicly about their experience with him. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 10/6/05]

Buchanan Claim: “Vern Buchanan -- honest, independent, fighting for change”

FACT: Buchanan Named One of the 20 Most Corrupt Members in Congress

* Vern Buchanan has been named one of the most corrupt members of Congress by a non-partisan ethics organization for allegations of illegal campaign contributions. [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, accessed 9/17/08]

FACT: Buchanan Voted with the Republican Party over 90% of the Time. [Washington Post Congressional Votes Database, accessed 9/18/08]

Christine Jennings and Brad Sherman Go After Offshore Loopholes and Buchanan

Rep. Brad Sherman, Christine Jennings Discuss Need for Offshore Tax Reform

“Must make sure that taxes can’t be evaded by taking money out of the country”

SARASOTA, FL – September 23, 2008 – Visiting Sarasota this weekend to support the candidacy of Christine Jennings, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), one of Congress’ foremost experts on taxes, discussed steps that can be taken to restore fiscal responsibility in Washington, including closing certain offshore tax loopholes.

“We must do what it takes to ensure that honest, tax-paying Americans are not undercut by loopholes that allow the super-rich to avoid paying their fair share of taxes,” said Christine Jennings, Democratic candidate for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. “There are steps we should be taking to curb these loopholes and make sure that taxes can’t be evaded just by taking money out of the country.”

Representing California’s 27th Congressional District since 1997, Rep. Sherman currently serves on the Committee on Financial Services, the Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade. Rep. Sherman, who specialized in tax law as an attorney and is a Certified Public Accountant, also was an instructor for Harvard Law School’s International Tax Program.

Specifically, Rep. Sherman pointed out two bills that show promise in combating offshore tax loopholes:

* H.R. 2136, the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, sponsored by Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), which would “restrict the use of offshore tax havens and abusive tax shelters to inappropriately avoid federal taxation.”

* H.R. 2345, the Abuse of Tax Shelter Shutdown and Taxpayer Accountability Act of 2007, also sponsored by Rep. Doggett, would “curb tax abuses by disallowing tax benefits claimed to arise from transactions without substantial economic substance,” including provisions to define “economic substance” and increase penalties for large corporations and individuals with high net worth who fail to disclose certain tax-sheltered transactions.

Jennings’ opponent, Rep. Vern Buchanan, has exploited offshore tax loopholes for his own personal wealth in a few different ways. He and his immediate family members own offshore reinsurance companies that allow his car dealerships to pay much reduced taxes on the extended warranties they sell. Buchanan can then invest the profits from these companies in offshore investments in order to defer taxes indefinitely – these investments include real estate developments in the Bahamas.[1]

In addition, according to his latest personal financial disclosure form,[2] Buchanan has invested between $13 million and $65 million of his money in hedge funds that benefit from tax loopholes he has voted against closing[3] – allowing them to classify income at the much lower capital gains rate instead of the income tax rate – and as much as $5 million of his annual income thus benefits from the tax advantage he has protected.

“Instead of exploiting islands like the Turks and Caicos or the Cayman Islands as a tax haven, Buchanan should have voted to stop offshore tax evasion,” said Rep. Sherman. “Unfortunately, he has refused to support H.R. 2136 and H.R. 2345, and a number of times voted to let hedge fund managers use these offshore islands to evade taxes.”

“Restoring fiscal discipline to Washington is of my top priorities,” said Christine Jennings. “Making sure everyone pays their fair share of taxes is an important step toward balancing the budget and paying down the debt, especially as our government faces so many other economic challenges. I couldn’t agree more with Rep. Sherman’s recommendations for closing these off-shore tax loopholes that allow too many people to escape paying their fair share.”

“We need more people in Congress like Christine Jennings,” said Rep. Sherman. “The economic knowledge demonstrated by Christine during her forty-year banking career will be such an asset to both her constituents and to her colleagues in Congress. I look forward to working with Christine on these issues when she is elected to the House of Representatives.”

[1] “Use of offshore companies helps Buchanan reduce his tax burden,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 10/31/06,

[2] 2007 Vern Buchanan Personal Financial Disclosure,

[3] Buchanan voted against three bills regarding the Alternative Minimum Tax, which would have also closed tax loopholes affecting offshore arrangements and hedge funds, among other provisions (H.R. 6275, June 2008; H.R. 4351, Dec. 2007; H.R. 3996, Nov. 2007)

Second Episode of Vern's Office is Up

From Emily's List:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Buchanan Inspires Online Activism

Check out the first episode of Vern's Office from Emily's List:

Also check out the new web site Boot Buchanan.

Thug Buchanan Is So Corrupt, And Has Been Forever

A very in-depth piece from today's St. Petersburg Times lays out just how crooked and awful thug Congressman Vern Buchanan is. And it's worse than you thought.
It's an inspiring story.

One of six kids in a blue-collar family, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan put himself through college and grad school. While still in his 20s, he founded American Speedy Printing, a Michigan-based chain of franchised print shops. The company boasted 720 stores and $150-million in sales by the time Buchanan sold it in 1989, took an early retirement and moved to Florida.

At least that's how Buchanan, a Sarasota Republican, has often told it.

In reality, voluminous court records show, Buchanan left Michigan just as American Speedy verged on a spectacular collapse. Angry franchise owners accused him of mismanagement, deceit and outright fraud. Michigan's attorney general was threatening to shut down the company. In 1992, American Speedy landed in bankruptcy court, followed by dozens of store owners, some of whom lost their life savings.
In other words, Vern was Enron before Enron was cool.

You know, given the state of the American economy and given the state of some of the biggest businesses and banks today, is Vern Buchanan really who we want overseeing this stuff in Congress?

Some of the stories of the broken lives Vern left behind are truly tragic.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

From the Blogs

Pam's House Blend: CREW's 20 most corrupt members of Congress

Blog For America: Jim Dean: Set the record straight

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Corruption and Staff Discord in the Vern-iverse

If you didn't hate him so much, you'd almost feel sorry for thug Congressman Vern Buchanan.

First, his district director and campaign coordinator was busted for another DUI. Now he's resigned.

Poor Vern hasn't found a replacement yet.

Of course, maybe he's been tied up reading about how he is at the top of the list of the Citizen's for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's "Most Corrupt" list. Check out his profile on their site.

By all means, download the five-page report here [PDF].

Not for nothing -- you notice a whole lot more "Rs" there than you do "Ds." Should tell you something.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Calling Judge Wapner: Vern in Court

Christine Jennings is letting loose on thug Congressman Vern Buchanan. Check out the new website: Our Congressman in Court.
Vern Buchanan just can't seem to stay out of court. Florida voters need to know
about this longstanding pattern of Vern and the way he has done business.

Check out their fact references as well.

The people of the 13th Congressional District deserve better than Vern.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thug Vern and Empty Chair Chair Charlie Have a Very Bad Rally

When it rains it pours.

First, the Democratic Party of Florida is asking the FBI to investigate Vern's criminal misdeeds.

And now Empty Chair Charlie was supposed to come down for a Vern Rally -- and he was a no show! Boy, when Charlie Crist abandons Floridians, he really abandons Floridians.

They blamed it on the weather.

From Jeremy Wallace's blog:
Because of bad weather conditions in both Tallahassee and Sarasota, Crist never made it to the nearly two-hour-long rally to help Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, raise money for his re-election campaign.

Instead, when it came time to introduce Crist around 6:30 p.m., Sarasota County Republican Party chairman Eric Robinson held up a cell phone to a microphone in which Crist tried to speak to the hot, sweating crowd that had gathered in the un-air conditioned hanger at Dolphin Aviation.


For most of the about 300-person crowd, whatever the governor said was inaudible as Robinson struggled to position the phone at the microphone so everyone could hear the governor.


After about 2 minutes of the cell phone being held to the microphone, Buchanan realized most of the crowd still wasn’t hearing the speech. With people heading of the exits, Buchanan stepped in and pushed the phone aside while it sounded like Crist was still trying to say something.

“How’s everyone doing tonight,” Buchanan said yelled into the mike.

Not good, Vern. Not good.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Democrats Call on Feds to Investigate Vern's Crimes

The Florida Democratic Party is asking for the FBI to investigate the crimes alleged against Congressional thug Vern Buchanan.


From the Buzz:
The Florida Democratic Party today called on the FBI to investigate the allegations that Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, violated campaign finance law by pressuring employees to donate to his campaign and allowing his campaign to reimburse those who did.
The GOP said the Democrats' attack was simply timed to coincide with this week's visits by Gov. Charlie Crist and Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer on Buchanan's behalf. RPOF spokeswoman Erin VanSickle also mentioned Jennings' tax troubles:
Her campaign failed to pay tens of thousands of dollars in payroll taxes during her 2004 and 2006 races for Congress.
Nice try, Erin. I don't think it's going to work, though.

This is a story that is going to get away from Erin -- and Vern -- very quickly. ABC has picked it up. So has CBS (via Politico). These allegations are the real deal. If proven true, Vern will be one more Republican in a long line of Republicans who have foresaken their duty to the people they represent. And don't think the FBI won't investigate allegations like this.

From the Democrat's statement:
"Over the past several weeks, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and other media outlets have uncovered very serious allegations of fraud and violations of election laws by Congressman Vern Buchanan. Based on the seriousness of the charges being made, it is only appropriate that the FBI and other authorities begin investigating these allegations. While Congressman Buchanan deserves the benefit of the doubt until these allegations are proven true or false, it is a sad day when a Member of Congress does not live up the laws he took an oath to defend."
After Katherine Harris, and now thug Congressman Vern Buchanan, the people of the 13th Congressional District of Florida deserve better.

Vern Buchanan Hates His Constituents

It is fairly well established on this blog and in the Florida media generally, that Congressman Vern Buchanan hates his employees so much he bullied them into forking over campaign donations.

Now it turns out Vern Buchanan apparently hates his constituents as well.

Why else avoid debates and public events where his opponent might be?

Vern's people -- those that haven't been shaken down, we assume -- chalk this issue up to scheduling conflicts.

Sally Tibbetts, Buchanan's spokeswoman, said "we look very much forward to debating all of the candidates" but that scheduling conflicts have prevented it thus far.

Democrat Christine Jenning's crew has a different -- and imminently reasonable -- point of view:
“The voters of the 13th Congressional District deserve every possible opportunity to hear the substantial differences between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan from the candidates themselves,” said Jennings spokesperson Melissa Smith. “Candidate debates are one of the cornerstones of our democratic system, but so far during this campaign Vern Buchanan has tried to hide from any real debate on the issues and his record.”
Marj Baldwin is the founder and head honcho of the Sarasota Tiger Bay Club. She is also a powerful presence in Sarasota politics and a force to be reckoned with. She is the one who showed Katherine Harris the door because she didn't have an invite to the event.

So she's tough.

And she seems fairly perturbed by the actions of Vern on his avoiding the, you know, people he represents.

"It appears that he's made up his mind that he's not going to appear on any platform with Chris Jennings," Baldwin said. "For whatever reason, he will not get on the platform with the other candidates for the 13th District race."


Baldwin said that was because the club wanted to hear from all the candidates. Unless all can attend, the forum might not happen, she said.

"I cannot have Vern come by himself," Baldwin said. "It would imply that Tiger Bay would be endorsing him, just as I could not have Chris Jennings come by herself because that would imply Tiger Bay Club was endorsing her. That's the quandary I'm in."

A quandary indeed.

If you want someone in Congress who will be accessible to her constituents, support EMILY's List featured candidate Christine Jennings.

If you wonder why Vern Buchanan is tucked away in a hidey-hole and won't come out, email his campaign and ask when he'll debate Christine.

Better yet, go pay a visit to Vern and Empty Chair Charlie at Dolphin Aviation in Sarasota.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

More Bad News in the Vern-iverse

When last we posted here, Vern Buchanan was having a very bad day. There were allegations that he illegally strong-armed employees at his car dealership into donating to his campaign.

The news just keeps getting worse for old Vern.

According to the Stacey Eidson at the Bradenton Herald, another complaint has been filed against Vern. Are we starting to see a pattern, here?

Another former executive of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan's car dealerships has filed a lawsuit claiming he witnessed fraudulent practices at the automotive store and was pressured to contribute to the congressman's 2006 campaign.

Carlo Bell, a former finance director at Venice Nissan Dodge, alleges in a lawsuit filed in Sarasota County Circuit Court that he repeatedly objected to the "falsification of documents" during the sale and financing of cars at the dealership.

This isn't the guy who mops the floor at night, gang -- it's the finance director. And yes, we're starting to see a pattern. From the lawsuit:
"In order to avoid campaign laws, various employees were approached and instructed to make a $1,000 contribution to defendant Buchanan's campaign fund and were then reimbursed in cash for those contributions as a means of avoiding campaign finance law restrictions," the lawsuit states. "The plaintiff (Bell) wrote a check and the same day was given $1,000 cash."
The Venice dealership is going to countersue, I guess, for "false and outrageous claims."

Yeah, good luck with that. You're going to need it.

And the reason they'll need it, as Wayne Garcia points out today, is because EMILY's List has targeted this race and is supporting Christine Jennings.

Vern is going to need all the help he can get against an EMILY's List-backed candidate. It's made all the more true by virtue of the fact that the ethical and legal troubles are piling up, too.

With Florida in play for Obama, and the level of organization we're seeing statewide, you may want to put Vern Buchanan on your watchlist for incumbents in trouble. I know I will.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thug Buchanan Will Win At Any Cost... Even If His Employees Are Paying The Price (Illegally)

A bright young writer over at the Huffingtonpost called Vern Buchanan "sleazy."

Seems appropriate.

The author, Mr. Nathan Robinson, had some unfortunate up-close-and-personal experiences with Congressman Buchanan. Too bad for him. It reads like a scary bedtime story, the kind that gives your kids nightmares for a week.

Of course, the real scary stuff is Buchanan's win-at-all-cost strongarm tactics he employed in his 2006 campaign. Who knows what he's doing now.

Today he has come out with the official denial. From Jeremy Wallace & Carol E. Lee's article:
"They both are disgruntled employees," Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, said in his first public comments since the accusations surfaced last week.
Well, of course they are, Vern! If my bosses forced me to donate to my thug boss's campaign, I'd be disgruntled, too.

Why is any of this important?
Even as Buchanan rebutted the accusations of Joe D. Kezer, former finance director at Sarasota Ford, and Carlo A. Bell, former finance director at Venice Nissan Dodge, another former Buchanan employee, D.J. Padilla, said that he, too, was pressured to donate, but refused.
"It all happened," said Padilla, who worked in the finance department under Bell. "They said if you make a donation, they'll give the money back."
Pressuring employees for donations and paying reimbursements violate federal campaign finance laws.
Yes. Yes, it is.

That, and there is a good chance that the 13th CD of Florida -- Katherine Harris's old seat, so you know it's a doozy -- is going blue.

At long last, the voters of the 13th Congressional District of Florida deserve decent representation in Congress -- and they should hold Vern Buchanan accountable for his illegal actions.

Support Christine Jennings. She's the one who doesn't shake down employees for campaign contributions.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Buchana Hates His Workers, Customers, Ethics, Campaign Laws

If true, this helps prove that Vern Buchanan is a very bad person:

Two former executives for U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan's auto dealerships said they were pressured to donate to Buchanan's 2006 congressional campaign and were offered cash and gifts as inducements, which would violate federal campaign laws.

The former employees, Carlo A. Bell and Joe D. Kezer, are suing Buchanan, alleging his auto dealerships cheated customers. The alleged violations of campaign finance laws are not part of the lawsuit. The former employees went public with the claims this week, after Buchanan's lawyers rejected their $43 million offer to settle the lawsuit.

Anyone who would do this type of thing should be barred from Congress. And anyone who votes for someone who would do this doesn't care about what's best for Americans or Floridians.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Buchanan Hates Working Families, Loves Big Oil

Vern voted against the "Use It Or Lose It" bill at a time when working families (like mine) are struggling to pay for rising gas costs. Republicans are touting drilling closer to Florida's coast as a way to bring prices down -- a claim that is ridiculous when the oil companies already have leases to 68 million acres they aren't currently drilling, apparently because they won't get big enough profits quick enough on those acres. The bill would've required oil companies to drill on the leases they already have or they wouldn't get further leases. Vern voted against that and for continued high prices for working families and potentially for oil spills on our beaches. Thanks, Vern!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vern Hates America and Its Values

It's clear that Americans generally favor more progressive values most of the time. Not Vern. With a lifetime Progressive Punch voting score of 12.86%, it's clear he hates Americans and their values.

Vern is Wasting Your Time in Washington

According to, Vern is the 40th most powerful member of the House and as part of the hugely ineffectual Florida Republican delegation in Washington, helps make Florida one of the least powerful states in Congress. Thanks for the great work!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Vern Buchanan Hates Rule of Law, Ethics, Honesty

Apparently, Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan will hire anybody. His personal attorney is Daryl J. Brown, one of the few lawyers in the entire state who have been suspended twice by the Florida Bar. In fact, Brown isn't eligible to practice law in Florida right now. Brown's first suspension was for a campaign finance scandal involving Riscorp, a massive insurance company, where 875 illegal contributions were recorded. I wonder what party they went to? Not only was Brown involved, he lied to media about his involvement.

That didn't stop Buchanan from hiring him. In fact, Brown was involved in Buchanan's lawsuit against the developers of the Ritz-Carlton, something he did while under suspension. He later lied about his occupation on a campaign donation to Buchanan.

If this is the type of judgment Buchanan has when it comes to hiring his personal lawyer, how can he be trusted to represent Floridians ethically and fairly in Washington. He can't.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Vern Hates the Environment

The League of Conservation Voters recently released scorecards for Congress. How did Vern do? Poorly:

Vern Buchanan (REP), 25%

Not only did all of the Democrats do better than all of the Republicans, With one exception, all of the Democrats did more than twice as good as all the Republicans. And most of the Democrats voted in favor of the environment more than four times as frequently as most of the Republicans.

I wonder how many of these Republicans own property that will be beachfront property when most of Florida is under water because of global warming? I'm just saying...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

What Is This Money Going To?

From the Bradenton Herald:

Buchanan outspent Jennings last year, $1.01 million to $175,000. Most of the campaign spending was for consultants, campaign staff and office and travel expenses.

A year before the election, Vern has already spent a million dollars. What could he possibly be buying with that much money this early on? He's trying to buy the election? Are we going to let him do it? (Again?)

Buchanan Hates Workers

This line in a recent article jumped out at me:

Political action committees gave $55,405 to Buchanan and $20,558 to Jennings in last year's final quarter. Most of Buchanan's PAC contributors represented business interests, while Jennings' primarily represented unions.

Unions fight for the people and accountability in the free market system of the U.S. The business interests that give to people like Buchanan fight for their own profits at the expense of workers, consumers and the environment. Buchanan is bought and paid for and we know who has the receipt.

Vern Better Watch His Back

Christine Jennings is raising more money than she did last time -- when she beat Vern. And while it is true that Vern is raising more money than he did last time, he's already past the point of diminishing returns and it's pretty clear from all kinds of recent political events that one doesn't need to outspend to win, one just needs to be competitive. This is a competitive race.