Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown and her chief of staff have been indicted on public corruption charges after a federal investigation. Corrine Brown and Elias Simmons have been accused in a fake charity scheme and allegedly used $800,000 in donations for their own personal use.
Corrine Brown was involved in the One Door for Education Foundation Inc., based out of Leesburg, Va., to help educate poor students. According to records the Open Door Education Foundation was not properly registered as a nonprofit. Prosecutors also claim that Congresswoman Brown used her position to gain donations for the charity and that the Foundation only awarded two scholarships totaling $1,200, via Reuters.
According to The Hill, Congresswoman Brown and Elias Hill used more than $200,000 for golf games, box tickets for concerts, NFL games, and parties in Washington D.C.
Earlier this year, Carla Wiley, president of the One Door for Education Inc, pleaded guilty and admitted to conspiring with an unnamed public official. Court records show prosecutors present a detailed account of how they say Wiley and the unnamed co-conspirators raised huge sums through One Door and spent the vast majority of it to pay for their personal expenses, lavish events held in the public official’s honor and campaign activities, according to the Florida Times.
Congresswoman Corrine Brown has been indicted on 24 counts, ranging from wire fraud, mail fraud, making false statements, conspiracy to commit fraud, and engaging in tax obstruction between 2008 and 2014.
Richard Weber, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation stated, “The defendants are alleged to have committed a multitude of criminal violations, including fraudulently receiving and using hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions meant for a nonprofit organization for their own personal and professional benefit,” reported by First Coast News.
Michelle Klimt, Special Agent in charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division stated, “Corrupt public officials undermine the integrity of our government and violate the public’s trust. that is why public corruption is the FBI’s top criminal priority. It is incredibly disappointing that an elected official, who took an oath year after year to serve others, would exploit the needs of children and abuse the charitable hearts of constituents to advance her own personal and political agendas and deliver them with virtually nothing,” via the United States Department of Justice.
Congresswoman Brown is temporarily stepping down as ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs in accordance with House rules. Brown is not resigning her seat and will continue to run for re-election in a newly drawn district that stretches from Jacksonville west to Tallahassee, according to 12 News.
On June 9, 1998, Congresswoman Corrine Brown also faced the Congressional Accountability Project who had voted to conduct a formal inquiry against her The Project called for the U.S House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to determine if Brown had violated House Rule 10. The congressional subcommittee found no evidence at the time, as reported by the Petersberg Times.
Congresswomen Corrine Brown on February 25, 2004, attacked the Bush administration and called his representatives a “bunch of white men”
House Rep. Henry Bonilla stated, “If a Republican had made such derogatory, insulting and discriminatory remarks there would be a firestorm of outrage. The current silence is deafening,” Bonilla, R-Texas, said. “If we truly advocate zero tolerance for racism, then we must insist the statement be addressed,” via Fox News.
According to the Florida Times, Brown did later apologize for her comments saying, “I sincerely did not mean to offend Secretary Noriega or anyone in the room. Rather, my comments, as they relate to ‘white men,’ were aimed at the policies of the Bush administration as they pertain to Haiti, which I do consider to be racist.”
Corrine Brown, 69, was elected in 1993 as U.S Representative for Florida’s 5th congressional district and serves on the Democratic party.
If Congresswoman Corrine Brown is found guilty on indictment charges, she faces up to 357 years in federal prison, fines totaling $4,805 million and restitution payments of $896,890.
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