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.