WASHINGTON, July 10 (UPI) -- A U.S. House ethics panel said Tuesday it had cleared Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., of allegations he intentionally failed to report all his financial holdings.
The House Ethics Committee said in a statement posted on its Web site Buchanan had not accurately reported all his holdings and income on financial disclosure statements in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, but it "found no evidence that the errors were knowing or willful, and unanimously determined that the errors were not substantively different from the hundreds or thousands of errors corrected by amendment at the requirement of the committee every year."
"In fact, between 30 percent and 50 percent of all financial disclosure statements reviewed by the committee each year contain errors or omissions," the committee said. "Such errors and omissions are not uncommon and are typically corrected through amendments to financial disclosure statements, and do not involve any further committee action.
"Representative Buchanan has now corrected the errors and omissions in his financial disclosure statements by his subsequent amendments. Therefore, no further action by the committee is warranted and the committee considers the matter closed."
Still under review, however, are allegations of campaign finance violations.
The New York Times reported Buchanan issued a statement saying he was "pleased with the committee's action but not surprised."
The committee is looking into claims by a former business partner that Buchanan made a $2.9 million lawsuit settlement agreement contingent on the business partner signing a false affidavit to be filed with the Federal Election Commission. The affidavit was related to allegations that individuals who contributed to the congressman's re-election committee received reimbursements from automobile dealerships owned by Buchanan.
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