The Speaker and the Rainmaker

John Boehner

Mr. Boehner seems utterly unperturbed by the fact that federal investigators are looking into allegations that Mr. Buchanan, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, failed to fully disclose his business holdings and charges that his companies reimbursed employees who contributed $90,000 in “straw donations” to his campaign.

Agents for the F.B.I. and Internal Revenue Service are pursuing the campaign contributions, with a federal grand jury in Tampa hearing evidence as well, according to Eric Lichtblau of The Times. Mr. Buchanan has denied any knowledge of campaign wrongdoing, attributing his problems to disgruntled ex-employees.

The independent Office of Congressional Ethics concluded in October that “there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Buchanan violated House rules, standards of conduct and federal law” in failing to disclose in Congressional filings his positions in 17 different business entities. Mr. Buchanan quickly amended his disclosure filings, pleading an innocent mistake. But the report prompted the House Ethics Committee last month to open a new inquiry into Mr. Buchanan’s behavior.

The Federal Election Commission dropped a previous investigation into Mr. Buchanan’s role in the straw-donor case, citing a lack of reliable witnesses against him. It reached a settlement with one of Mr. Buchanan’s former partners for using their auto dealership to reimburse employees for tens of thousands of dollars donated to the Buchanan campaign.

A spokesman for Mr. Boehner told The Hill newspaper that he was glad to be with Representative Buchanan on Saturday, considering his “hard work” to supply candidates with “the needed tools.” Given the investigations, are those really the tools candidates want? And is that really the sort of campaign voters deserve?

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