The Justice Department has jettisoned its criminal probe of Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., his campaign announced Wednesday.
The investigation centered on accusations that Buchanan improperly reimbursed former employees at a business he owned who donated money to his campaign committee. The development should greatly aid Buchanan’s re-election effort, Politico
reports. Democrats and congressional watchdog groups have been going after him hard.
“The Department of Justice today informed Congressman Vern Buchanan that it has closed its investigation of all allegations against him and will not bring any criminal charges,” read a statement from Buchanan’s reelection campaign.
Robert Luskin, the lawmaker’s lawyer, said, “as we stated from the beginning, any fair-minded inquiry into these allegations would establish that Congressman Buchanan never engaged in wrongdoing,”
Buchanan cooperated fully with the investigation, which was first reported in October 2011 by the Bradenton Herald. Buchanan was never directly questioned by federal investigators, sources familiar with the probe told Politico.
The House Ethics Committee has declined to embark on a full-scale investigation of the charges, but it hasn’t thrown them aside. Rather the allegations remain under review with no timetable for further action.
Buchanan owned a Hyundai dealership with Sam Kazran, who claimed the congressman had him reimburse employees for their donations from 2005-07. Buchanan has vehemently denied Kazran’s claims.
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