Ex-Buchanan Biz Partner Accused FL GOPer Of ‘Running’ Donations Through Dealership

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July 26, 2011 10:45 a.m.

A former business partner of Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) told federal officials back in 2009 that the congressman instructed him to have employees of their car dealership write checks to his political campaign for which they would then be reimbursed.The Federal Election Commission deposed Sam Kazran on Nov. 6, 2009. Kazran, who is now being sued by the FEC for $67,900, filed the deposition in federal court on Monday. In the 2009 FEC interview, Kazran said he was “very confident that Mr. Buchanan had individual talks with everyone just like he did with me.”

Kazran also told the FEC that the corporate office collected money for every car that was sold in his dealership and others and that it was an office joke that Buchanan used the cash for personal expenses.

“The offshore accounts that collected money for extended warranties, et cetera, they had set up accounts, I guess for tax purposes,” Kazran said.

“They called it a Vern’s PAC. The partners joked around, it was for his jet, for his office staff, et cetera,” Kazran said. “Anything that Mr. Buchanan did, he pushed it down to the dealerships and raised the cost on it.”

Kazran told the FEC that he instructed employees to “write a check and reimburse themselves for — because Mr. Buchanan had asked me to get money. And he specifically told me get someone you trust and run it through the corporation.”

According to Kazran, Buchanan told employees to write the check and they were “all reimbursed the same day,” Kazran testified. “Actually, they got — the money was deposited into their personal account so that the checks could cash, because none of these folks — these are ordinary folks that make 2 -, $3,000 a month. They would not be in a position to write that.”

A Buchanan spokeswoman has previously called Kazran’s allegation that Buchanan was involved in the illegal donation scheme “absolutely false.” A spokeswoman told the Associated Press last week that Kazran is simply retaliating against Buchanan, noting that the congressman recently sued Kazran for $3 million over a business dispute, though Kazran’s allegations date back to 2009.

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