Friday

December 3rd, 2021

Insight

Who had the Worst Week in Washington? Corrine Brown, Dem crook

Chris Cillizza

By Chris Cillizza The Washington Post

Published July 11, 2016

Corrine Brown (center) surrounds herself with a cast of characters.

One high-profile female politician dodged an indictment this past week. Rep. Corrine Brown wasn't so lucky.

Just 72 hours after Hillary Clinton was scolded but not indicted for her decision to exclusively use a private email server during her time at the State Department, Brown, D-Fla., was indicted on two dozen charges related to a college scholarship fund that, authorities allege, became a "personal slush fund" for Brown and her longtime chief of staff.

The details are damning. Brown, along with Elias "Ronnie" Simmons, the aforementioned chief of staff, allegedly raised more than $800,000 for the One Door for Education scholarship fund. But only a pittance is said to have actually gone to, you know, scholarships. And, when I say a "pittance," I mean it: According to federal authorities, just $1,200 of that total actually went to students.

Where did the rest of the $798,800 go? This from the unsealed indictment: "Brown, Simmons, and (charity head Carla) Wiley used more than $200,000 in One Door For Education funds to pay for events hosted by Brown or held in Brown's honor, including a golf tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; lavish receptions during an annual conference in Washington, D.C.; the use of a luxury box during a Beyonce concert in Washington, D.C.; and the use of a luxury box during an NFL game between the Washington Redskins and the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Washington, D.C. area."

Wiley, it's worth noting, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Brown insisted she was innocent. "My heart has been really heavy. This has been a really difficult time for me," she told reporters after the indictment. But she did step down from her post as the ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Brown tried to spin the entire thing as a politically motivated witch hunt, but the statements from some of her colleagues weren't so optimistic. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the charges were "deeply saddening." Pelosi's words had to make Brown sad. That and the 24 counts - conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, theft of government property and filing false tax returns among them - against her made this an absolutely terrible week for Brown and her political future.

Corrine Brown, for having the words "personal slush fund" in a headline along with your name, you had the Worst Week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Comment by clicking here.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles