U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown has been indicted on public corruption charges and is expected to arraigned in federal court in Jacksonville on Friday, two U.S. law enforcement officials said Thursday. The charges are related to the Jacksonville Democratic lawmaker's involvement with an unregistered charity in Virginia. The officials, citing grand jury secrecy rules because the indictment remains sealed, declined to provide the exact nature of the charges.
For criminal-defense attorneys in D.C., this has been one heck of a Congress.
As we first reported a year ago, then-Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) got the ball rolling with an indictment and conviction. Two months later, then-Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) was forced to resign and still faces the threat of possible criminal charges. A month after that, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) was indicted. A month after that, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) was indicted and later sentenced to prison.
And two months after that, Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) was added to the list, charged in a 29-count indictment, with charges that included bribery, fraud, and money laundering. As we discussed a month ago, Fattah has since been convicted.
And now, the Orlando Sentinel reports that another current lawmaker has been indicted.
The reports of the allegations against Brown have not yet been independently confirmed by NBC News, though if the congresswoman is arraigned today, it will remove all doubt.
Politico's report added, "It had been known publicly since March that Brown, a Democrat, was facing a Department of Justice Investigation related to 'fraudulent activities,' and whether or not she improperly solicited charitable donations and misused campaign funds. DOJ officials asked the House Ethics Committee to halt a separate investigation while they conducted their probe."
It's discouraging to realize the number of indicted lawmakers from this Congress exceeds the number of important bills passed into law during this Congress.
As for the electoral impact, Brown represents Florida's 5th congressional district -- a narrow district stretching from Jacksonville to Orlando -- which is considered one of the state's most heavily Democratic. The incumbent lawmaker is facing a primary challenger next month.