Hey Vern!

Vern Buchanan, the Florida Republican who "won" the most controversial House race out there in 2006, the result of which helped bring about the demise of electronic voting machines in Florida, is in a world of trouble according to the Huffington Post.

Buchanan is being accused by former employees, many of whom are Republicans, of hiring undocumented workers, threatening employees, bilking customers, misappropriating funds, filing fraudulent papers with banks, and best of all, FEC violations as concerns campaign fundraising. It's a longish article, and I suggest you read it all, but here are a couple of nuggets I found interesting.

Several of the plaintiffs, and one additional former Buchanan employee, reported having received death threats or threats of bodily harm from other Buchanan staffers. When an assistant to plaintiff Joe Kezer, a former finance director for Buchanan's flagship outlet Sarasota Ford, blew the whistle about being asked to engage in fraudulent activities, the dealership's general sales manager began to scream and told Kezer to "get on the same page." He then threatened to beat Kezer's assistant "to a pulp" if he complained again. Kezer said he fired the assistant to get him out of harm's way and later was fired himself--in retaliation, he claims, for refusing to go along with the alleged fraudulent practices....

In September 2005, plaintiff Carlo Bell, then finance director of Buchanan's Venice Nissan Dodge dealership in Venice, Florida, was "instructed" by senior executives to make a $1,000 donation to Buchanan's Congressional campaign. Bell did--he has the canceled check to prove it--and claims he was immediately reimbursed in cash (he has the deposit slip to corroborate that)....

Bob Whittaker was a former sales manager at Buchanan's Spacecoast Honda in Merritt Island, Florida. Not a plaintiff himself, Whittaker nevertheless said in an interview that he attended a Saturday morning sales meeting in the fall of 2005 at which the general manager announced that all managers were to donate $200 to Buchanan's campaign and all salesmen $50. The clear implication, according to Whittaker, was that if you didn't give, you would be fired. As soon as he cashed his next paycheck, Whittaker gave $200 in cash to the general manager for Buchanan's Congressional bid.
There's lots more, like I said. Here's hoping this information will hit big in the next few months--Christine Jennings would be a much better Congressperson for that district.

Hat tip to Steve Benen

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