12 July 2016
Florida’s Fifth Congressional District representative Corrine Brown, her top adviser, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons, was indicted on 24 charges relating to conspiracy and fraud. The charges refer to Virginia-based organization called One Door for Education, which was meant to be an educational charity but was not registered as such. Brown, Simmons and [One Door President] Carla Wiley used the donations for their personal and professional benefit.
The indictment says that the congresswoman used $200,000 to host events such as golf tournament, receptions during an annual Washington conference, use of luxury boxes for a concert and an NFL game in the Washington area. The fraud includes the hiring of a “shadow” employee (who later turned out to be a family member) was paid for services not rendered. The indictment also showed that Brown lied on her tax returns, claiming that she donated more than $50,000 to One Door and other charities in 2013 and 2014 while, in fact, the real amount she donated came to less than $8,000.
In her 1992 campaign, Brown flouted many campaign finance laws by misallocating and misreporting several thousands of dollars. She failed to report use of a corporate plane and money from a non-federal campaign account. She received donations from foreign citizens, accepted donations from corporations, failed to account for several disbursements, and failed to report $81,000 in contributions before the election.
Brown penned a letter to Attorney General to plead for leniency for Gambian businessman Foutanga Sissoko who has been convicted of bribing U.S. Customs officials. After that, her daughter received a $ 50,000 Lexus from the chief financial officer of Sissoko’s company.
She has represented a Jacksonville-based congressional district since 1993. She was one of the first three African-Americans elected to Congress from Florida since Reconstruction. Brown temporarily stepped down as ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, in accordance with House rules.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called the charges against Brown “deeply saddening,” said that for more than two decades “Brown has served her constituents in Florida with passion and energy. She has been a champion for America’s veterans.”
USA: Florida Congresswoman charged for corruption
12 July 2016