- Democratic Member of Congress
- Member of the Progressive Caucus
- Her voting record has a 95 percent rating from the leftwing group Americans For Democratic Action
- Has been involved in numerous scandals, including receiving money from individuals facing Federal criminal charges
- In 2000, lobbied the U.S. Senate to block George W. Bush’s election as President
Brown is a Democratic
Member of the House of Representatives who belongs to both the
Progressive Caucus and the Congressional
in Jacksonville, Florida on November 11, 1946, Brown attended Florida
A&M University where she earned an undergraduate degree
in 1969 and a master’s degree in 1971. Between 1977 and 1992, Brown
spent time on the faculties
Waters College, Florida
Community College, and the University
From 1983-92 she served
in the Florida House of Representatives.
years in the state legislature, Brown in 1992 was
positioned to seize the custom-made opportunity offered by Florida's
newly gerrymandered Third Congressional District, which threaded
its way through predominantly
black neighborhoods from Orlando to Jacksonville to Gainesville. With
an electorate that was 49% African-American and 8% Hispanic, this
district instantly became a Democratic stronghold. Brown won that
year's election with 59.3%
of the vote and has been re-elected every two years since then.
During her 1992
congressional run, Brown sparked controversy when she paid $5,000 in
campaign funds to a St. Petersburg company bearing the same address as the church headed by her longtime political ally, National Baptist
Convention USA president Henry Lyons. Brown claimed that
the payment was for the purchase of a computer from Lyons’s
company, but in fact that entity had been dissolved six years
earlier. Lyons, who had a long track record of financial malfeasance, had knowingly pledged fake
credit-union-share certificates as collateral to obtain an $85,000
bank loan in 1988.
1993 Brown used taxpayer dollars to pay Florida minister Fred
Demps, a close business partner of Henry Lyons, to do “community
outreach” for her. Demps had previously helped
in 1993, Brown's congressional office reserved several
airline tickets for Lyons at a special discounted rate that was supposed to
be reserved exclusively for government employees traveling on official
same year, Brown paid a $5,000 fine to the Florida Ethics
Commission, which found that she had inappropriately used legislative
staff members as employees in a travel agency she owned.
her 1996 reelection campaign, which was endorsed
by the Democratic
Socialists of America's Political Action Committee, Brown
a $10,000 contribution—far more than the $1,000 individual
donation limit—from a secret Wisconsin bank account that Henry
was eventually convicted
of racketeering and grand theft,
allegedly used for money laundering. Brown did not report the money
on either her financial disclosure statements or her campaign
contribution reports. Nor could her office produce any bank
records or receipts showing how the money had been spent.
Federal Election Commission has admonished Brown several times for
her inaccurate campaign-spending reports. Her own campaign
treasurer quit his post in the mid-Nineties after learning that his
name had been forged on some of those reports. Yet the staffer
responsible for the forgery went on to become Brown's chief
plaintiffs went to court in February 1996 to challenge Florida's Third
Congressional District for unconstitutional racial gerrymandering,
Brown's campaign spent nearly $18,000
to commission dozens of buses to deliver at least 1,000 of her
supporters to the steps of the courthouse, where they staged a “Voting
Rights Rally” to “make an important public statement about
preserving progress under the Voting Rights Act in securing adequate
representation of minorities.” The
boundaries of the Third District were ultimately struck down due to
their highly irregular shape, but Brown nonetheless retained her
In 1998 Brown's daughter, Shantrel
lawyer and Environmental Protection Agency employee—was
given a $50,000 Lexus automobile by Foutanga Sissoko, a Gambian millionaire who was a friend of Corrine Brown. Sissoko at the
time was serving a prison term for having bribed
a customs officer, and Rep. Brown had been working aggressively
to secure Sissoko's release, pressuring then-U.S. Attorney
General Janet Reno to deport the prisoner back to his homeland as an
alternative to continued incarceration. Sissoko's
that the Lexus was originally intended as a gift for the congresswoman,
and the millionaire's brother speculated that the vehicle ultimately was given
to the daughter because of U.S. laws barring such gifts to members of
2000 the House Ethics Committee, after investigating both the $10,000
contribution from Henry Lyons and the Lexus from Sissoko, concluded
that Brown had “demonstrated, at the least, poor judgment and
created substantial concerns regarding both the appearance of
impropriety and the reputation of the House.” The Committee dropped
the case, however, because it was unable to question certain key
witnesses, including the Gambian millionaire.
In 1999 Brown,
is not yet a color-blind or gender-neutral environment,” expressed
bitter opposition to University of California Regent Ward Connerly’s
action campaign in Florida, calling
Connerly a “paid carpetbagger” whose efforts represented a threat
to Florida’s status as a “diverse state” where the “inclusion”
of nonwhites in business and academia was highly valued.
the 2000 presidential election's Florida recount controversy, Brown
insisted that the voting irregularities under scrutiny discriminated
against African-Americans. After George W. Bush was declared the
winner, Brown was one of several members of Congress who lobbied
the U.S. Senate to block Bush's election as President.
At a congressional hearing in 2004, Brown described
President Bush's policy towards Haiti as “racist” and derided the hearing's administration officials as “a bunch of white
men.” When Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega, a
Mexican-American, objected to being called “white” and “racist,”
Brown snapped, “You all look alike to me.”
In May 2004, a
from Brown's office went on a four-day “fact-finding” trip to
In June 2007 the organization Citizens for
Ethics, which maintains that relatives of congressional
representatives should be barred from lobbying for special
interests, reported that Brown's daughter (Shantrel Brown-Fields) was
a congressional lobbyist—and
that one of her clients was Edward Waters College, for which Rep.
Brown had earmarked
millions of dollars in federal funding.
October 27, 2007, Brown spoke
at a United
For Peace & Justice anti-war rally in Lake Eola, Florida.
2011 the Democratic
fundraising firm Berger Hirschberg Strategies, which had raised over
$500,000 for Brown's re-election campaign, sued
the congresswoman for
$44,495 in unpaid bills.
2012 Brown's Congressional District was again redrawn, this time as
the majority-black Fifth District.
share of Brown's campaign
contributions comes from labor unions, including such
notables as the SEIU,
and the Teamsters.
Another key Brown supporter has been the American
Association for Justice, formerly known as the Association of
Trial Lawyers of America.
List has consistently endorsed
Brown's political campaigns over the years.
For an overview of Brown's voting record on key issues during her years in Congress, click here and here.