Corrine Brown Archives - Florida Politics

Congressional candidate Rontel Batie: ‘This race is far from over’

Rontel Batie is not the incumbent in the Democratic primary in Florida’s 5th Congressional District; that’s Al Lawson.

Nor is he the former mayor of the biggest city in the district: that’s Alvin Brown.

Nonetheless, Batie (who carried a meager $4,314 cash on hand out of 2017, compared to Lawson’s $100,531), asserts that “this race is far from over.”

In an email late Wednesday, Batie served up zingers about Lawson and Brown both.

“Al Lawson broke with the CBC and was seen cheering on President Trump during his State of the Union address. This was done in spite of Trump’s yearlong assault on black men who’ve used their platforms to protest injustice, like Jay-Z, Lavar Ball and NFL players who kneel during the anthem,” Batie wrote.

“Also, Alvin Brown, Jacksonville’s former Mayor who lost his reelection after being singled out for being one of the only Democrats in the country to refuse to support President Obama in 2012, (among many other political missteps), has entered the race,” Batie added.

Both of these assertions are questionable: Lawson tepidly applauded Trump saying that black unemployment was down, and Brown was an Obama re-election delegate.

Batie also served up two new endorsements.

Luis Zaldivar, the President of Northeast Florida Democratic Progressive Caucus, asserted that Batie “embodies the values that will move Duval County forward.”

Former Lake City Commissioner Glenel Bowden called Batie “the only progressive candidate in the race.”

Batie isn’t going away, and this occasions parallels to the 2016 race, where underfunded L.J. Holloway sheared votes from Lawson and Corrine Brown.

Lawson won the three way primary with just over 47 percent of the vote, with Brown coming in with 38 percent. Holloway, who had little fundraising momentum and few meaningful endorsements, was able to undercut Corrine Brown on the eastern side of the district.

Could history repeat in the 2018 primary?

Batie is in the race through August, and it’s entirely possible that Lawson could again win the nomination with less than 50 percent of the vote, via a spoiler candidate who doesn’t do enough to win, but who does enough to ensure the Jacksonville candidate can’t.

Al Lawson on Alvin Brown: ‘We’re going to retire him’

As Florida Politics predicted since Corrine Brown‘s legal fate was still in doubt, former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is making his move.

Less than 24 hours after the former Democratic congresswoman reported to prison, Brown declared to the Florida Times-Union that he was running for Corrine Brown’s old seat.

“These challenging times call for each of us to stand up and speak out about the kind of community in which we want to live,” Alvin Brown said in a statement Tuesday. “North Florida deserves a pragmatic, visionary leader who will aggressively champion policies that create good-paying jobs, ensure economic and financial security for all, and improve our overall quality of life.”

Alvin Brown, since last spring, has told people that he would file as soon as Corrine Brown was out of the news.

And lo! It came to pass.

Now Alvin Brown is attempting to do what Corrine Brown couldn’t: beat U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a popular Tallahassee politician who beat Corrine Brown in all but two counties in the district.

The Times-Union article spotlights the perceived Tallahassee/Jacksonville divide in the district, calling Brown’s bid a “race of redemption not just for his own political career, but also for Jacksonville, which saw its decades-long hold on the congressional district end in 2016 when Lawson defeated former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown.”

Rep. Lawson, in a candid phone conversation with Florida Politics Tuesday morning, eviscerated his primary challenger, painting him as an opportunist looking for his next gig.

“He’s been telling people for months he is going to run,” Lawson said. “We welcome the challenge.”

Lawson rejected the idea that the race is Jacksonville versus Tallahassee.

“The district stretches from Gadsden County to Duval,” and Alvin Brown’s strategy, said Lawson, is “similar to what Corrine tried to do.”

“It won’t work. You have to be concerned about the whole district. You can’t just run a campaign out of Duval,” Lawson said.

Lawson was unsparing in his assessment of Alvin Brown’s single term as Jacksonville mayor.

“Alvin failed as mayor,” Lawson said bluntly, “and a lot of people in Duval are saying he’s just looking for a job. If he’s looking for a job, this is the wrong place to look.”

Alvin Brown, said Lawson, “wants to split the district. We don’t have enough clout to do that. We need to work together.”

To that end, Lawson has built a strong alliance with John Rutherford on regional issues. Laying the groundwork for that, Lawson said, was when both men ran in 2016.

“During the course of the campaign,” Lawson said, “I met with [Rutherford] a couple of times.”

They keep each other looped in when it comes to regional issues; it almost goes without saying that Alvin Brown, were he to win, wouldn’t be able to have that kind of relationship with Rutherford, a former sheriff with whom he battled during his term.

Lawson also touted his work with Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry as key, saying that party affiliation doesn’t preclude collaboration and that Curry and Lawson have a “strong relationship.”

“I have served with many Republicans in Tallahassee,” Lawson — an expert in the legislative process — said.

Lawson wasn’t nearly finished talking about the race.

When asked if the Congressional Black Caucus would back Alvin Brown, Lawson was blunt.

“That won’t happen,” Lawson said. “The leadership in the CBC is all behind me. I meet with them every week.”

Lawson has been a voice of reason, he said, successfully cautioning against a proposed walkout of Tuesday evening’s State of the Union address.

And Lawson’s influence with the CBC happened despite Corrine Brown bringing Alvin Brown to D.C. last year to test the waters.

“Corrine had Alvin up there, but the CBC does not get involved in primary elections,” Lawson said. “We’ll be in great shape to run.”

Lawson, over the last two years, has “a lot more inroads in Jacksonville than ever before,” and is meeting Friday with the Jacksonville Chamber and Florida Blue.

And Lawson isn’t worried about what comes next in Jacksonville.

“People I speak to weren’t thrilled with [Alvin Brown] as Mayor,” Lawson said, adding that he believes Alvin Brown is running because “he needs a job.”

“He was trying to be Edward Waters College president,” Lawson said, “but he didn’t make the shortlist.” [NOTE: EWC President Nat Glover denies the claim in comments to POLITICO Florida].

Lawson saw it as ironic that Brown was running against him, given that at multiple points in the past, “he wanted me to help him raise money.”

Now he’s going to help Alvin Brown with something else.

“We’re going to retire him,” Lawson said.

Lawson has made his plays to prove his Jacksonville bona fides.

Among them: spending lots of time in Jacksonville after Hurricane Irma, taking a Jacksonville guest, Paul Tutwiler, to the State of the Union Tuesday evening, and filing the Flood Water Relief Act — which would bring $116 million to Jacksonville to help with storm hardening.

Alvin Brown will have some fence-mending ahead of him.

Some Jacksonville Democrats were less than enthused by his mayoral re-election bid, in which he essentially rejected Democratic orthodoxy until he started falling behind now-Mayor Curry in public polls.

Alvin Brown began to embrace proposals as a candidate, such as a minimum-wage increase, that he never embraced as mayor.

Alvin Brown also took heat from white liberals for failing to support an expansion of Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance to include the LGBT community — something that happened, ironically, only after he left office.

Some Democrats on City Council at the time said Alvin Brown worked to squash the bill in 2012.

“There was pressure to not vote for it,” Johnny Gaffney said, echoing allegations made by Denise Lee to this reporter that rumors were that Mayor Brown pushed Gaffney not to vote for it, that rumors were that “Johnny Gaffney was pressured to change his mind,” and that rumors said that he would veto it if it passed (an echo of persistent rumors since 2012).

There are also questions as to Alvin Brown’s support in the African-American community, and how much buy-in he has from the Duval donor class.

We asked Lisa King, leader of the Duval Democratic Party, for comment.

“Mayor Brown has a strong record of accomplishment and will be a formidable candidate,” King texted.

That record will be part of the discussion — though how much it matters west of the county line is up for debate.

All of that said, it boils down to one thing.

Alvin Brown wanted a battle.

And Al Lawson will give it to him.

We reached out to Brown’s campaign for response, and they offered it Tuesday afternoon.

“After Mayor Brown heard from voters in CD-5, there is a clear sense that Lawson seems generally uninterested in serving the district and has gone Washington. At a time when civil rights, voting rights, immigrant rights and women’s rights are under attack, Lawson seems content to live the life of a privileged Congressman who refuses to fight for the people of his district,” the campaign said via written statement.

With Corrine Brown gone, does Alvin Brown run?

A persistent pitter-pat has dripped from the rumor mill of Jacksonville politics for close to a year now, regarding the inevitable Jacksonville challenge to Al Lawson.

Once Corrine Brown was out of the headlines, former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown would launch his run for Congress to take back Corrine’s seat.

“Word in the halls is that former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is waiting until Queen Corrine is out of the headlines before launching his Congressional bid.”

That was from a story we did in May of last year.

A variation on the same theme, from November: “Brown has told at least one leading Jacksonville Democrat that his plan was to launch a campaign after Corrine Brown is out of the news.”

Corrine Brown dominated her last news cycle on Monday. She’s now in lockdown downstate, for five years.

So now, for Alvin Brown, it’s go time.

Does he jump into the race for Congress?

Some locals have suggested such — connected Jacksonville and D.C. Democrats, in conversations with this writer, say he’ll get into the race this week.

If not now, when?

Jumping into the race gives him six months until the primary.

While we are still waiting to see Rep. Lawson’s year end financial report, the cash on hand he had at the end of September — $97,768 — won’t scare anyone off.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan routinely writes those kinds of checks for Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry‘s political committee.

Fun fact: Alvin Brown was in Shad Khan’s box at the last Jaguars home game. Word is he really wanted to be there. And lest we forget, Brown and Khan did a lot of business together, as a $41 million city investment in EverBank Field scoreboards shows.

And Khan, who has not backed Lawson financially, was a big Brown backer through the 2015 election.

Other Jacksonville donors also can make that action happen very quickly.

Lawson has struggled to connect with Jacksonville — which is not to say he hasn’t tried.

He’s taking a Jacksonville guest, Paul Tutwiler, to the State of the Union Tuesday evening.

And he’s filed the Flood Water Relief Act — which would bring $116 million to Jacksonville to help with storm hardening … but he hasn’t gotten that one through committee.

One wonders how some Jacksonville Republicans would deal with U.S. Rep. Alvin Brown; recall that Jacksonville Republican John Rutherford was at war with the Mayor’s Office for much of Brown’s sole term, before working as a shiv-out surrogate for Curry during the 2015 campaign.

Brown said Rutherford had enough budget to run the Sheriff’s Office. Rutherford said Brown was starving the department.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, when we asked him months back, was noncommittal to any particular advantage that Brown would bring to Jacksonville.

“I have a great working relationship with Al Lawson,” Curry said.

However Republicans feel about Alvin Brown, conditions may be conducive to juicing Duval primary turnout, with a must-see primary shaping up between Senate Minority Leader Designate Audrey Gibson and Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Brown.

Reggie Brown doesn’t BS.

“I am running [because] I believe I can bring more state $ to North Florida and the time to do it is now!”

Reggie Brown is all in. He knows he has a generational opportunity. He believes he can knock over the person who would otherwise be the most powerful Democrat in the Senate.

Alvin Brown doesn’t lack for confidence either.

If not now, when?

Could Donald Trump lawyer help Corrine Brown’s appeal?

Corrine Brown is expected to begin five years in prison no later than Jan. 29. A motion filed Monday would have delayed that 30 days, but it was quickly denied.

The more interesting story, however, may be that one of President Donald Trump‘s personal attorneys may be an asset to the former congresswoman’s appeal.

Brown, convicted of 18 counts related to the fraudulent One Door for Education charity, is again citing the matter of the discharged “Juror 13” in her appeal.

Juror 13 was removed from duty due to insisting that God said Brown was innocent. While Brown’s original attorney brought the issue up in appeal, Brown’s current appellate lawyers have made the case more substantially.

Brown and her legal team contend that the case made upon appeal requires more time for consideration of the question, which they assert isn’t as settled as it might have seemed in 2017.

“Indeed, it is not inconceivable that this Court upon review of the appellate pleadings, well might rescind its previous order and now find that the appellate issue does satisfy the substantial question standard entitling Brown to release pending appeal,” asserts Brown’s motion.

The appeal also raises the question of amicus briefs from friendly religious organizations who would contend that nothing disqualifies a juror based on divine guidance.

Among those groups: the American Center for Law and Justice, whose chief counsel is Jay Sekulow.

Sekulow is one of President Donald Trump‘s personal lawyers.

Ironically, given Brown’s conviction for using a counterfeit charity as a slush fund, Sekulow has been investigated by two state attorneys general, per the Guardian, “following the disclosure that [Sekulow’s Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism and an affiliate] have since 2000 paid more than $60m in compensation and contracts to Sekulow, his relatives and companies where they hold senior roles.”

Nonprofits are expected to offer “reasonable but not excessive” compensation to executives, and some may contend that $60 million exceeds that threshold.

Sekulow has defended the President against accusations of Russian collusion, among other things.

Corrine Brown asks appeals court for prison reprieve

Slated to report to prison Jan. 29, former Congresswoman Corrine Brown is asking a federal appeals court to allow her to remain free while she continues to fight her conviction on charges related to a charity scam.

Brown’s attorney, William Mallory Kent, filed a 37-page document Friday at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that seeks to keep her out of prison while an appeal is pending. The request is based on what will be a key issue in the appeal: whether U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan improperly removed a juror who said during deliberations that the “Holy Spirit” told him Brown was not guilty

Kent wrote that the issue could lead to the reversal of Brown’s conviction and, as a result, she should stay out of prison during the appeal.

“Neither the government (prosecutors) nor the district court (judge) cited a single case which has found that a juror’s personal prayer life before or during deliberations could be the basis of a finding of good cause to dismiss a juror,” Kent wrote. “The district court itself acknowledged that it was certainly permissible for the juror to pray to seek guidance or inspiration to try to come to a proper decision — and that is exactly what this juror had done. The juror did nothing improper and the juror’s internal mental belief that the Holy Spirit had offered him guidance in understanding the evidence and truthfulness of the witnesses — witnesses, all of whom, by the way, had taken an oath `so help me God’ to tell the truth — was not in any way a disqualifying mental process much less a disqualifying external influence.”

But Corrigan, who sentenced Brown to five years in prison, refused last month to allow her to remain free during the appeal and said she is required to report to prison by noon Jan. 29. Corrigan also rejected arguments that he improperly dismissed the juror.

“In essence, the court (judge) dismissed a juror who it found was unable to follow the law,” Corrigan wrote Dec. 20. “The court applied the governing legal standard to the facts, finding beyond a reasonable doubt that there was no substantial possibility that the juror was able to base his decision only on the evidence and the law as the court had instructed.”

Brown, a former 12-term Democratic congresswoman, was convicted in May on 18 felony counts related to her role in using contributions to the One Door for Education charity for personal expenses and events.

In sentencing Brown on Dec. 4, Corrigan issued a 25-page order that said the One Door for Education charity, which was originally established to help children, was “operated as a criminal enterprise” by Brown, her longtime chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, and the charity’s founder, Carla Wiley. Corrigan detailed how the charity raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, which forensic accountants said was siphoned off in cash withdrawals and used for such things as sky box seats at an NFL game and a luxury box at a Beyonce concert.

Corrigan removed the juror who made the “Holy Spirit” statement after another juror raised a concern to the judge. An alternate juror was substituted, and Brown was later found guilty.

Brown, 71, long an influential figure in Jacksonville, represented a congressional district that stretched from Jacksonville to Orlando. She lost a re-election bid in 2016 after the district’s boundaries had been substantially redrawn and as she faced the criminal charges.

Behold, the wreckage: A look at A.G. Gancarski’s 2017 predictions

Another year is mercifully almost in the books, and with that comes another chance for this writer to offer self-recrimination for yearly predictions that looked good in January.

Prediction 1 [TRUE]: The Duval Delegation will struggle to deliver.

On this one, I have to consider what the Mayor told me was the key priorities.

One of them was money for septic tank removal.

The city and JEA have committed to a five-year, $30 million shared process of removal of old septic tanks, with the idea of getting these properties onto city water and sewage.

The city wanted $15 million from the state; however, the Duval Delegation didn’t even carry the bill — which was instead carried by Rep. Travis Cummings of Clay County.

The measure died in committee.

So on that issue, the Delegation didn’t get it done.

Prediction 2 [TRUE]: Nothing for Hart Bridge offramp removal

The big ask last year: $50 million for removal of Hart Bridge offramps, with the idea of moving traffic onto surface streets by the Sports Complex.

Another called pitch strikeout.

No one even carried the bill. Delegation members told this reporter that they hadn’t been told about the project before it was introduced at a Duval Delegation meeting.

Delegation Chair Jay Fant said in March he would have been “happy to carry the bill,” but that the mayor’s office “backed off” because the concept “needed some validation” and wasn’t just a “request and get.”

The city is now pursuing a $25 million federal infrastructure grant, and wants $12.5 million from the state to help with that.

Thus far, crickets.

But long story short, the city didn’t get what it wanted there.

Prediction 3 [FALSE]: Collective bargaining with unions won’t wrap in time for 2018 budget

We were pessimistic that collective bargaining with unions, regarding pension reform, would take longer than it did.

We were wrong.

The unions traded pay raises for current members with the end of defined benefit plans for new members, who are all now into defined contribution plans.

This saved the city money in the short term.

As CFO Mike Weinstein said, the savings add up to “$1.4B less out of the general fund over the next 15 years,” and “without that revenue” from the half-cent sales tax, the city would have “difficulty matching revenue to expenses.”

The city was able to defer what is now a $3.2 billion obligation until 2030, when the Better Jacksonville Plan half-cent sales tax will be repurposed to dealing with what is now a pension plan playing out the string.

This allowed the city to have a bigger budget than in previous years, with more money for infrastructure spending.

In any event, we botched that one.

Prediction 4 [FALSE]: Human Rights Ordinance expansion won’t go through.

After five years of trying to find a way to add LGBT people to the city’s HRO, activists got their wish on Valentine’s Day; the expanded ordinance passed by a 12-6 margin in City Council.

The expansion added sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to the list of protected categories under the ordinance, which ensures that people aren’t discriminated against in the workplace, the housing market, or public accommodations (restrooms, locker rooms, and so on).

Mayor Lenny Curry returned the bill to the city council without his signature; the bill is now law.

Instrumental in the push: Jaguars owner Shad Khan,

Khan, per some sources, read an article of this writer’s that suggested that Khan lean on Council for a yes vote.

Whether that’s true or apocryphal, who knows.

But a win’s a win.

Prediction 5 [TRUE]: The murder rate won’t abate.

Sad to be right about this one, but as the T-U’s homicide tracker says, the city is at 128 murders with two weeks to go this year.

Last year saw 118 homicides.

Curry and Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams probably won’t get real electoral challenges for re-election.

If they did, however, they would be vulnerable on this issue.

Prediction 6 [TRUE]: Alvin Brown continues to resurface.

This reporter has seen more of Alvin Brown this fall than he has his own mother … which means that he probably should visit home more often.

It also means that Brown is around; a fixture at everything from meetings of Duval Democrats to Corrine Brown hearings.

Brown, who is still mulling running against Al Lawson for Congress, is out there for a reason.

Prediction 7 [FALSE]: Local Dems vie to replace Al Lawson

While Brown is mulling, no one seems to be moving.

Audrey Gibson is in Democratic caucus leadership in the Florida Senate. Tony Hill is on Lawson’s payroll.

The expectations of a battle royale between Democrats, thus far, have been dashed.

Prediction #8 [FALSE]: There will be a homeless day resource center in Downtown Jacksonville

This was a priority of activists; this was not a priority of the Lenny Curry administration.

The contention: the day center had “mixed results.”

As is the case with other social-service legislation, such as the Jacksonville Journey, the mayor’s office wanted a data-driven approach. And the data showed that a day center serves a supplementary, not a primary purpose.

Prediction #9 [FALSE]: The city will reassume control of Hemming Park.

Jacksonville has found a rapprochement with a restructured Friends of Hemming Park group, meaning that this is not under direct city control.

Prediction #10 [FALSE]: Political scofflaws will skate on charges

This is false solely because Corrine Brown did get sentenced to five years in prison. At her age, that essentially is a life sentence.

All told, batted .400, with four correct and the rest junk.

Better luck next year!

Petition seeks to remove Corrine Brown name from Gainesville transit center

Change.Org petition seeks to remove the name of Corrine Brown from a regional transportation center in Gainesville.

Brown, who is headed to prison for five years after being convicted on 18 felony counts in a fraud case this year, once represented Gainesville — and pushed for the appropriation for the center named after her.

However, some Gainesville area residents find it incongruous to have a public building named after a convicted felon.

“In a time when monuments around our great nation are being systematically removed and history erased, so should the memory of a convicted criminals in our government,” reads the petition, which goes on to compare Brown to Florida Gators footballer-turned-murderer Aaron Hernandez.

The assertion: “Just as the University of Florida removed Aaron Hernandez’s name, statue, and plaque from it’s campus, war memorials have been removed and as such, so should we remove Ms Brown’s.”

“The excuse that she has done many good works cannot be justification. Hernandez played good football at UF… but it was not justified and was removed,” the copy continues.

“What else has Ms Brown gotten away with over the years that we are unaware of? It is safe to say once a criminal mind, there are probably others,” the petition asserts.

Primary challenger questions Al Lawson fealty to Congressional Black Caucus

Rontel Batie, a former Corrine Brown staffer who is now running to take back her seat in Florida’s 5th Congressional District, issued the first salvo of the 2018 Democratic primary campaign against the incumbent Thursday evening.

That incumbent — Rep. Al Lawson, a moderate Democrat from Tallahassee — does not align with the priorities of the Congressional Black Caucus, per Batie.

Batie noted that this week, the CBC assembled on the East Capitol steps to honor HBCUs.

Among the Florida CBC Democrats in that photo op: Reps. Val DemingsFrederica Wilson and Alcee Hastings.

“While the overwhelming majority of Members were present for the photo honoring the contributions of HBCUs, there appears to be someone missing … Congressman Al Lawson. Seeing as though Rep. Lawson graduated from, and represents one of the largest HBCUs in the country, Florida A&M University (FAMU), his absence from this show of unity remains a mystery,” Batie writes.

Batie sees a pattern in Lawson’s no-show: “this ‘photo-op’ is not the first time that Al Lawson has broken with the CBC and went his own route.”

“For instance, Al Lawson also broke with the CBC in his support for vouchers and charter schools, as well as his desire to meet with President (Donald) Trump personally after the CBC decided that they wouldn’t meet with the Trump Administration as a caucus,” Batie observes.

Batie, an alumnus of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (a group that proved to be the pretext for much of the fundraising that sees Brown headed to federal prison in the coming weeks), notes that he has “spent many years working with the CBC and its stakeholders.”

“I know firsthand the importance of standing in solidarity with those who champion the issues that best serve our communities. Unfortunately, Lawson hasn’t taken the time to learn how Washington works and thus hasn’t been able to deliver much to Florida’s 5th district,” Batie writes.

Batie, who was one of the few defense witnesses for Brown in the trial that saw her convicted on 18 counts this year, is clearly trying to stake out the inside lane with the CBC before former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown gets in the race early next year.

Lawson is said to be more comfortable working with Republicans — such as Neal Dunn and John Rutherford — than with CBC Democrats.

Lawson also benefited from the financial patronage of Jacksonville Republicans ahead of the Democratic primary.

Sources tell us that Corrine Brown was in Washington with Alvin Brown earlier this year, giving CBC members the stamp of approval, should Alvin Brown primary Lawson as expected.

Corrine Brown is held in high esteem with CBC members, so much so that many of them wrote on Brown’s behalf, calling for leniency in sentencing.

Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat from South Florida, spoke of a friendship going back to 1969 with Brown.

“Corrine has already lost just about everything by being convicted,” Hastings wrote, asking for a “second chance” for his former Congressional colleague.

Rep. Marcia Fudge, an Ohio Democrat, noted that at “some point in every life we all wish we had a do-over,” before asking Corrigan to show Brown a “small portion of the kindness, love, and caring” she has shown others.

Rep. Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat, noted Brown’s “deep connection to her constituents … service for the most vulnerable members” of her district.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, lauded Brown’s “tireless work ethic, impeccable fortitude, and laudable achievements” as a “change agent for good who has earned the love and adoration of those she has served.”

Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, wrote of Brown’s “long track record for standing for our nation’s most vulnerable communities,” citing her work after Hurricane Katrina.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, called Brown a “practical legislator who always wanted to fight for those with real needs … a colleague, a friend, a spiritual person” with “much more to contribute to our great country and the world.”

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, another Texas Democrat, lauded Brown’s “unbridled compassion” and asked Corrigan to take into account the “anguish” she experienced, to “judge her by the sum of her life, and not just by the mistakes that she made.”

Rep. James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, acknowledged that “lines were crossed” by Brown; however, “there was no malice or forethought on her part.”

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat, called Brown a “friend, confidant, and mentor” who “cares deeply for those who have not benefited from the American dream.”

Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrat, noted that Brown is at the “twilight of her life and career” and — through community service — had an “opportunity to give back to her community and communities in need.”

Illinois Democrat Rep. Robin Kelly lauded Brown as a “mentor … a passionate advocate for her constituents.”

Florida Politics reached out to Lawson for comment Thursday evening; it will be added if received.

Lockdown ordered for Corrine Brown during appeal process

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown was found guilty of 18 counts in the One Door for Education case. She faces a five-year prison stretch.

Brown is asserting she should be free during the appeal process; however, Judge Timothy Corrigan sees it differently, declaring: “The law presumes that a person who stands convicted and sentenced will begin service of her sentence unless she can meet certain criteria.”

“Ms. Brown has been accorded all the consideration she is due, she has not met the standard to remain on release pending appeal, and it is in the interest of justice that she begin serving her sentence. However,” Corrigan added, “Ms. Brown may seek release pending appeal from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court will set a report date that gives Ms. Brown time to do so.”

Brown has until Dec. 29 to file that motion. As it stands, she must report to prison by Jan. 29, 2018.

Brown was found guilty earlier this year, protestations of innocence notwithstanding, of a laundry list of charges. Among them: conspiracy to defraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, tax fraud and fraudulent financial disclosures.

All of this tied to a nonperforming educational charity — One Door for Education — that was used as a slush fund by Brown and her co-conspirators for a period of years, with over $800,000 being funneled through the charity by the end.

20-year lien dropped on Corrine Brown

Longevity runs in Corrine Brown‘s family, and that seems to be part of the calculus of a federal lien against the congresswoman-turned-felon.

A lien notice totaling $664,292 was filed this weekend. There is good news, however; 20 years after the date of filing (December 2037), Brown is freed of the obligation.

Corrine Brown was found guilty of 18 counts in the One Door for Education case. She faces a five-year prison stretch.

Currently at issue: whether Brown should be free during the appeal process. The federal government discouraged that in a motion filed in recent days.

Brown had copious support, including from national and local Democratic politicians; however, she was unable to avoid a prison sentence.

Nor was she able to avoid a lien that will haunt her for years after her prison sentence would end.

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