NEWS BRIEF Corrine Brown, a 12-term congresswoman from Jacksonville, Florida, and her top adviser, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons, have been named in a 24-count indictment that includes charges related to conspiracy and fraud. The offenses are linked to a Virginia-based organization called One Door for Education, which was supposedly an education charity but never registered as such.
The indictment’s unveiling had been a long time coming: Brown was first served with a federal subpoena in January, and in March the House Ethics Committee announced it was examining whether she’d been involved with “fraudulent activities.” The committee deferred its investigation to the Justice Department. The Orlando Sentinel has more on the indictment:
The indictment says that Brown, Simmons and [One Door President Carla] Wiley “used the vast majority” of One Door donations for their personal and professional benefit, including tens of thousands of dollars in cash deposits that Simmons made to Brown’s personal bank accounts. [Wiley pled guilty in March to a wire-fraud conspiracy charge.]
According to the indictment, more than $200,000 in One Door funds were used to pay for events hosted by Brown or held in her honor, including a golf tournament, lavish receptions during an annual Washington conference and the use of luxury boxes for a concert and an NFL game in the Washington area.
Brown, who’s also running for re-election, has said she’s “clean” and suggested the case against her was part of an “organized” push to get her out of office. The charges will be formally read to Brown at the Federal Courthouse in Jacksonville at a 1 p.m. hearing.