Fla. Dems leap on guilty plea by Vern Buchanan friend; call for RPOF to return money

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Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan was recently cleared of allegations that he ordered employees who contributed to his campaign to be reimbursed, potentially depriving Democrats and former state Representative Keith Fitzgerald of a key argument against the incumbent in the Sarasota-area district. But reports that a Buchanan friend was one of two men who pleaded guilty to a similar scheme gave the Florida Democratic Party a new avenue to make hay from the spotlight on Buchanan: Demand the Republican Party of Florida return $10,000 of contributions to the RPOF that prosecutors say were also illegally reimbursed by Tim Mobley.

“It has become abundantly clear that Congressman Buchanan is more concerned with defending his own political career than looking out for the middle class families of Sarasota, and it is sad that Florida families have effectively been robbed of their representation while Buchanan deals with the legal ramifications of his schemes,” said FDP executive director Scott Arceneaux in a statement issued by the party. “The Republican Party of Florida should apologize for accepting these tainted funds, immediately refund the donations, and cooperate with federal authorities so that law enforcement can do it’s work as they investigate the connection between the RPOF, Buchanan and these guilty individuals.”

Buchanan has already said he’ll give up contributions to his campaigns linked to the scheme.

Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this post.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.