Published: Feb 22, 2012 6:18 PM EST

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - A former business partner of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan says he was responsible for improperly reimbursing employees for contributions they made to Buchanan's congressional campaigns.
The Bradenton Herald ( reports a federal court in Jacksonville said Sam Kazran, Buchanan's former business partner, committed "non-knowing and non-willful" violations when he reimbursed employees of a Jacksonville car dealership he co-owned with Buchanan. The reimbursements totaled $67,900 for contributions they made to Buchanan's campaigns in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Kazran's attorney says Kazran is "just a pawn in a scheme devised by Vern Buchanan." As part of the settlement, Kazran will pay civil penalties totaling $11,000 over the next two years.
Attorneys for Buchanan have acknowledged that the Justice Department is conducting a separate investigation of Buchanan's campaign finances.
Information from: The Bradenton Herald ,

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