Justice Department Orders Investigative Ethics Case Tied to Florida Rep. Corrine Brown be Suspended

© AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File FILE - In this July 22, 2015, file photo, House Veterans Affairs Committee Ranking Minority Leader Corrine Brown, D-Fla., speaks at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.
© AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File FILE – In this July 22, 2015, file photo, House Veterans Affairs Committee Ranking Minority Leader Corrine Brown, D-Fla., speaks at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.

The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday that it has agreed to a Justice Department request to suspend its investigation of Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., regarding allegations of improper fundraising and misuse of campaign funds and resources from her congressional office. 

The committee did not detail the allegations against the 12-term congresswoman, whose narrow district stretches from Jacksonville to Orlando, but the Florida Times Union has published several stories raising questions about her office. One story noted that she was raising money for a charity that appeared to barely exist; another suggested that a staff member in her office was also working for a local transportation authority that had business pending before Brown. The charity director pleaded guilty earlier this month to fraud charges, admitting that money raised by the group was used for the personal and professional interests of a few people.

The Ethics Committee announcement said it was prepared to pursue allegations:

“that she engaged in improper conduct relating to certain outside organizations, including allegations that she may have conspired with other persons in connection with fraudulent activity, improperly solicited charitable donations, used campaign funds for personal purposes, used official resources for impermissible non-official purposes, failed to comply with tax laws, and made false statements, and/or failed to make required disclosures, to the House of Representatives and Federal Election Commission.”

Politico reported in January that Brown had been subpoenaed in a federal case.

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Source: USA TODAY | Paul Singer