House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is raising eyebrows with his scheduled fundraiser appearance alongside Rep. Vern Buchanan, the wealthy Florida Republican and target of numerous ethic investigations. The New York Times admonished Boehner ahead of his weekend gathering with Buchanan and other GOP donors, writing in a Friday editorial that the Speaker seems "utterly unperturbed" by the federal investigations surrounding the top House Republican fundraiser.
Federal officials are looking into charges that Buchanan failed to disclose business relations, as well as allegations that he reimbursed employees who contributed $90,000 in illegal "straw donations" to his campaign.
The investigations come after the Office of Congressional Ethics ruled in October that there is “substantial reason to believe that Representative Buchanan violated House rules, standards of conduct and federal law” in neglecting to report positions in 17 business entities in his financial disclosures. The House Ethics Committee, meanwhile, has opened a fresh investigation into Buchanan's conduct.
Boehner's fundraising event, to be held in Buchanan's hometown of Sarasota, Fla., will benefit Boehner's fundraising committee, with couples paying as much as $10,000 to take photographs with the Speaker, according to an invitation obtained by the Hill newspaper.
Boehner's spokesman Cory Fritz told the Hill the Speaker was pleased Buchanan would be able to join him at Saturday's fundraiser.
“The Speaker appreciates Congressman Buchanan’s hard work on behalf of the NRCC to ensure Republican members and candidates have the needed tools to compete and win in November," Fritz said.
The Times editorial board on Friday voiced its disapproval, writing, "Given the investigations, are those really the tools candidates want? And is that really the sort of campaign voters deserve?"