Corrine Brown

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Corrine Brown
Corrinebrown.jpeg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byCharles E. Bennett
Succeeded byAl Lawson
Constituency3rd district (1993–2013)
5th district (2013–2017)
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 17th district
In office
November 8, 1982 – November 3, 1992
Preceded byRedistricted
Succeeded byRedistricted
Personal details
Born (1946-11-11) November 11, 1946 (age 72)
Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Children1 daughter; Shantrel Brown
ResidenceColeman Federal Correctional Complex
EducationFlorida A&M University (BS, MA)
University of Florida (EdS)

Corrine Brown (born November 11, 1946) is a convicted felon and former American politician who served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida from 1993 to 2017. She is a member of the Democratic Party. After a court-ordered redistricting significantly changed her district, and a federal indictment, Brown was defeated in the 2016 Democratic primary by Al Lawson, who went on to win Brown's former seat.[1][2]

On December 4, 2017, she was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay restitution.[3] She reported on January 29, 2018 to Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Sumter County, Florida, near Wildwood, to begin her sentence.

Early life, education, and academic career[edit]

Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Brown earned a bachelor of science degree from Florida A&M University in 1969[4][5] In college she became a member of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority. She earned a master's degree in 1971 from Florida A&M University, and in 1974 received an educational specialist degree from the University of Florida. She received an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, and served on the faculty at the latter two schools and at Florida State College at Jacksonville.[6]

Florida Legislature[edit]

After an unsuccessful bid for the Florida House of Representatives in 1980, Brown was elected two years later from a newly drawn House district and served in the House for ten years.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

1992–2008[edit]

After the 1990 census, the Florida legislature carved out a new 3rd congressional district in the northern part of the state. This district was designed to enclose an African-American majority within its boundaries. A horseshoe-shaped district encompassing largely African-American neighborhoods in Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando, Ocala, and Lake City,[7] the 3rd district seemed likely to send Florida's first African-American to Congress since Reconstruction, and Brown decided to run.[8]

Brown faced several candidates in the 1992 Democratic primary, but the strongest opponent to emerge was Andy Johnson, a white talk radio host from Jacksonville. Brown defeated Johnson in the primary and in a two-candidate runoff, and went on to win the general election in November 1992.[9]

In 1995, the 3rd district was struck down by the United States Supreme Court as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.[10] One of the main instigators of the lawsuit that led to the redistricting was Brown's 1992 opponent, Andy Johnson. Brown railed against the change, complaining that "[t]he Bubba I beat couldn't win at the ballot box [so] he took it to court," in an interview with New Republic. Although the district was redrawn to be more compact and its black population decreased, Brown won reelection in 1996.[11]

2012–2016[edit]

After decennial redistricting in 2012, Brown's district was renumbered as the 5th district, but its basic shape remained the same, stretching from Jacksonville to Orlando. It was identified as one of the most gerrymandered districts in the country.[12]

In 2015, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the congressional redistricting plan was a partisan gerrymander in violation of the Fair Districts Amendment, and ordered the 5th district to be substantially redrawn. Brown challenged the new court-ordered map in federal court, arguing that the new plan violated the federal Voting Rights Act. In April 2016, the court ruled against Brown.[13][14] The configuration approved by the Supreme Court made the new 5th district significantly more compact than its predecessor; running in an east-west orientation along the Georgia border from downtown Jacksonville to Tallahassee.[15][16]

After being indicted by a federal grand jury and facing trial on 22 federal felony criminal counts, Brown was defeated by former state senator in the 2016 primary for the Democratic party ticket. Al Lawson.[17]

Tenure[edit]

Brown was one of the 31 representatives who voted against counting the electoral votes from Ohio in the United States presidential election, 2004.[18] In 2006, she voted "no" on the Child Custody Protection Act, Public Expression of Religion Act, Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act, Military Commissions Act, and Private Property Rights Implementation Act of 2006. She voted "yes" on the SAFE Port Act.[5] On September 29, 2008, Brown voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.[19][20]

Political controversies[edit]

National Baptist Convention check
In 1998, Brown was questioned by the House Ethics Committee about receiving a $10,000 check from National Baptist Convention leader and long-time associate, Henry Lyons.[7] Brown confirmed receiving the check and denied she had used the money improperly.[7] Brown said that she had taken the check and converted it into another check made out to Pameron Bus Tours to pay for transportation to a rally she organized in Tallahassee. She said that she didn't have to report the money, and that she had been cleared, explaining the rally was to protest the reorganization of her district lines, and she did not use it for herself.[7]

Forgery
The Federal Election Commission admonished Brown and Brown's former campaign treasurer quit after he discovered that his name had been forged on her campaign reports. The staffer alleged to have forged the treasurer's signature stayed with Brown and as of 1998 was her chief of staff.[21]

Congressional Accountability Project
On June 9, 1998, the Congressional Accountability Project voted to conduct a formal inquiry regarding Brown. The Project called for the U.S. House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to determine whether Brown had violated House ethics rules.[22] One of the complaints was that Brown's adult daughter, Shantrel Brown, had received a luxury automobile as a gift from an agent of a Gambian millionaire named Foutanga Sissoko. Sissoko, a friend of Congresswoman Brown, had been imprisoned in Miami after pleading guilty to charges of bribing a customs officer. Brown had worked to secure his release, pressuring U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno to deport Sissoko back to his homeland as an alternative to continued incarceration. The Project held this violated the House gift rule, but Brown denied she had acted improperly. The congressional subcommittee investigating Brown found insufficient evidence to issue a Statement of Alleged Violation, but said she had acted with poor judgment in connection with Sissoko.[7][23][24]

Felony fraud conviction[edit]

In July 2016, Brown and her chief of staff, Elias "Ronnie" Simmons, pleaded not guilty to a 22 count federal indictment in relation to a non-profit charity, One Door for Education Foundation. The indictment included charges of participating in a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, multiple counts of mail and wire fraud, concealing material facts on required financial disclosure forms, theft of government property, obstruction of the Internal Revenue Service laws, and filing false tax returns.[25] Federal prosecutors allege the charity was to give scholarships to underprivileged students, but instead acted as the personal slush fund for Brown and her associates. The indictment said that Brown and Simmons "filled the coffers of Brown and her associates" with One Door donations for their personal and professional benefit, totaling $800,000, much of which was deposited in cash to Brown's personal bank accounts.[26][27] On May 11, 2017, former congresswoman Brown was convicted on 18 of 22 corruption charges ranging from mail fraud to filing a false federal tax return.[28] On December 4, 2017, she was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay restitution.[3] She reported on January 29, 2018 to Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Sumter County, Florida, near Wildwood, to begin her sentence. She is appealing her conviction, and will continue to collect her Congressional pension until her appeal is concluded.[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Corrine Brown loses re-election to Al Lawson". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Rep. Corrine Brown loses primary". Politico. Politico. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b Ex-Florida Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown sentenced for mail, wire and tax fraud involving sham charity; FOX News; http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/04/ex-florida-democratic-rep-corrine-brown-sentenced-for-mail-wire-and-tax-fraud-involving-sham-charity.html
  4. ^ "Corrine Brown Biography". Archived from the original on February 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-03.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link), accessed October 10, 2009
  5. ^ a b Votes Database Archived February 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Washington Post, accessed October 10, 2009
  6. ^ Brown, Corrine, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  7. ^ a b c d e Bill Adair and Monica Davey "Rep. Brown explains check from Lyons", St. Petersburg Times, July 28, 1998
  8. ^ Resolution of the State Senate of Alabama Commending Congresswoman Corrine Brown Archived June 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Alabama State Legislature, 2000.
  9. ^ "Concentrating Minority Voters Builds Liberal Strength in the South" Archived March 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Stanford University Graduate School of Business News, April 11, 2004
  10. ^ "The shape of things to come: Cleo Fields is the first to fall as redistricting changes the political map — Blacks in Congress are threatened — Elections '96", Black Enterprise, Oct 1996.
  11. ^ ""Testimony of Professor David Canon"". Archived from the original on July 28, 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-28.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) (June 21, 2006). Senate testimony.[dead link]
  12. ^ Ingraham, Christopher (May 15, 2014). "America's most gerrymandered congressional districts". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  13. ^ Cotterell, Bill (April 18, 2016). "Court rejects bid to throw out Florida congressional map". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  14. ^ [1]; The Florida Times-Union; Tia Mitchell; August 16, 2015
  15. ^ Judge sides with voters groups in redistricting case; Orlando Sentinel; December 30, 2015
  16. ^ Florida Supreme Court approves congressional map drawn by challengers ; Miani Herald; December 2, 2015
  17. ^ Cotterell, Bill (August 30, 2016). "Al Lawson defeats Corrine Brown in U.S. House District 5 primary". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  18. ^ Final vote results for roll call 7, January 6, 2005
  19. ^ Bailout roll call, September 29, 2008, retrieved on September 29, 2008
  20. ^ What has Corrine Brown done for the middle class, accessed October 10, 2009
  21. ^ Monica Davey, David Barstow and David Dahl "Lawmaker got $10,000 from Lyons fund" St. Petersburg Times, April 14, 1998
  22. ^ Ethics complaint. Congressproject.org.
  23. ^ Ethics Report Press Release; House.Ethics.Gov; September 21, 2000
  24. ^ "Statement of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct in the Matter of Representative Corrine Brown" Archived April 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine (September 21, 2000). House.gov.
  25. ^ Kevin Bohn. "Rep. Corrine Brown indicted for alleged role regarding fraudulent education charity". CNN. CNN. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  26. ^ "Representative Corrine Brown Indicted After Fraud Investigation". Bloomberg. 2016-07-08. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  27. ^ "US Rep. Corrine Brown Indicted After Fraud Investigation". ABC News. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  28. ^ 4:23 PM ET (2017-05-11). "Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown Convicted Of Stealing From Phony Charity : The Two-Way". NPR. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  29. ^ Former Congresswoman Corrine Brown reports to prison on fraud, other charges; Atlanta Journal-Constitution; January 29, 2018

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles Bennett
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 3rd congressional district

1993–2013
Succeeded by
Ted Yoho
Preceded by
Rich Nugent
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 5th congressional district

2013–2017
Succeeded by
Al Lawson