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.