Will The Media Cover? Democratic Rep. To Face Corruption Charges

July 7th, 2016 10:46 PM

On Thursday afternoon, Politico's Matt Dixon reported that "Florida Rep. Corrine Brown has been indicted and will be appear in federal court in Jacksonville on Friday." Dixon cited a report from First Coast News, a news outlet in Jacksonville that owns local ABC and NBC affiliates. He noted 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." The Big Three networks' evening newscasts on Thursday failed to cover the representative's indictment.

Correspondents Steven Dial and Clark Fouraker filed the Thursday report for First Coast News about how "Brown (D-Fla.) has been indicted on charges likely related to her involvement with an unregistered charity in Virginia and [will] appear in Jacksonville Federal Court Friday." The two outlined that "the indictments are sealed...but may stem from Brown's involvement in a group called 'One Door for Education,' which advertised itself as a charity, but was never a registered nonprofit. One Door's president Carla Wiley entered a guilty plea of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud charges in early March."

The journalists also revealed that Wiley's plea "appeared to implicate Brown, then identified only as 'Person A,' alleging she benefited personally from funds raised by One Door. The documents described 'Person A' as a public official who was often used in promotional materials for the group. Brown's photo appeared on the website for the group before it was taken down. The documents suggest more than $150,000 raised by One Door was used not for charitable purposes, but political events, travel and hotels."

Del Quentin Wilber and Jeff Weiner of the Orlando Sentinel provided additional details about Rep. Brown's indictment in an article on Thursday:

In March, the U.S. House Committee on Ethics said it had opened an investigation of Brown, just weeks after the director of a charity with ties to her pleaded guilty to fraud and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors.

However, the committee deferred its probe at the request of the Department of Justice, which was still investigating the charity, called One Door for Education Inc. Tom Rust, chief counsel for the House Committee on Ethics, said Thursday the committee had no comment....

Several details in Wiley's plea suggested Person A is Brown.

For example, prosecutors said Person A hosted a July 2013 golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass to benefit One Door. Records show Brown hosted a tournament for the group's benefit that month at the same Jacksonville-area golf course.

Rep. Brown isn't the first Democratic representative to face a federal corruption case in 2016. Back in June, a jury found Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah guilty on 23 federal charges, after he and associates devised a scheme to repay debt from an aborted 2007 campaign to become mayor of Philadelphia. After Rep. Fattah's conviction, CNN and MSNBC barely covered the story on the afternoon of June 22, 2016. One wonders if the cable news channels, along with the Big Three networks, will get around to covering Rep. Brown's indictment and arraignment.