FEC Goes After Dealership With Buchanan Ties for Campaign Finance Infractions
The Federal Election Commission filed a motion Friday asking a federal court to impose a $67,900 fine on a car dealership once partially owned by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), according to the Bradenton Herald.
The FEC accused Hyundai of North Jacksonville, while it was partially owned by Buchanan, of breaking campaign finance law by exceeding the legal contribution limit by paying back employees who donated to his campaign.
According to the Herald, “the owner of the company said Tuesday he has acknowledged the company reimbursed employees, but said it was a ‘directive’ issued by Buchanan.”
“I’ve done nothing wrong,” Sam Kazran told the Herald. “I am not a politician, just a regular Joe. I had no idea.”
The Buchanan campaign sent a statement to Roll Call responding to the allegations made by Kazran. “This is absolutely false,” the statement said. “Sam [Kazran] is lashing out because he was slapped by a summary judgment today by the Hillsborough County Circuit Court for $624,000 related to a loan he failed to repay to Vern.”
The campaign also emailed Roll Call a copy of the judgment, which calls for Sam and Maryam Kazran to pay $624,062 to 1099 Management Co., a company Buchanan has a substantial stake in, according to financial disclosure forms.
“This is an issue between the FEC and Hyndai [sic] of North Jacksonville, which Vern Buchanan has no interest or stake in,” the campaign added.
In 2008, a former employee at one of Buchanan’s car dealerships told Roll Call he observed significant fraud and campaign finance violations at the dealership — and when he pushed back against the practices, he said, he was fired.
Buchanan, who won his third term with 69 percent of the vote in 2010, is the finance vice chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
In the first quarter of this year, Buchanan raised $525,000, and his campaign account had $1.4 million in cash on hand as of March 31.