OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Vern Buchanan
On November 8, 2011, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Representative Vern Buchanan.
Nature of Review
During the period from 2007 to 2010, certain companies and organizations filed annual reports with the Florida Department of State that list Representative Buchanan as an officer or director. Representative Buchanan filed financial disclosure statements during this time that do not include the positions that he held with these companies and organizations. Also, his financial disclosure statements report an amount of unearned income that he received from certain companies that is inconsistent with the amount he reports on his federal income tax returns.
If Representative Buchanan failed to include positions he held with companies and organizations in his financial disclosure statements or failed to report unearned income, he may have violated House Rule 26 and the Ethics in Government Act.
The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the above allegations because there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Buchanan failed to disclose reportable positions and unearned income on his financial disclosure statements for calendar years 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.
On February 6, 2012, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review. The Committee published the OCE report and findings and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to the Committee Rule 18(a).
On July 10, 2012, the Committee released a report finding that Representative Buchanan did not report, in complete and accurate detail, all of the positions or ownership interests he held with several entities on his Financial Disclosure Statements for 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, and that he did not accurately report certain income received from those same entities in the same years. The Committee noted that, after being notified by OCE of their inquiry, Representative Buchanan amended his statements to reflect his positions with or ownership interests in certain entities, and income earned from these entities. The Committee found no evidence that the errors were knowing or willful. The Committee determined that Representative Buchanan had remedied these errors and omissions by his subsequent amendments and that no further action by the Committee was warranted.