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Florida Republican Says He's No Longer Facing FEC Probe

June 13, 2011|By Kathleen Hennessey | Washington Bureau
(Steve Nesius / Associated…)

The Federal Election Commission is no longer investigating Rep. Vern Buchanan as part of a probe into improper campaign donations to the Florida Republican's campaign.

Buchanan on Monday released two letters from the FEC -- dated Feb. 7 and Mar. 1. -- stating that it had closed its file on Buchanan and would take "no further action." The congressman requested permission to release the letters after Democrats turned the investigation into a political attack.

The FEC has levied fines against a now-defunct car dealership once partially owned by Buchanan. The commission says the company funneled illegal contributions to Buchanan’s campaign over a three-year period. It has filed a motion in a Florida court seeking to recoup $67,900 in fines from the congressman’s former business partner.

But FEC investigators decided close the file on Buchanan on Feb. 1, one of the letters states.

Its decision was made "after considering the circumstances of the matter," wrote Michael Columbo, an attorney with the commission.

"The congressman has been completely exonerated, as we knew he would be," Buchanan spokeswoman Sally Tibbetts said in a statement. "These phony accusations have been exposed as dishonest and partisan attacks."

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