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Florida Investigation Finds ‘Possible Criminal And Ethical Violations’ By Freshman Republican Congressman

By Josh Israel  

"Florida Investigation Finds ‘Possible Criminal And Ethical Violations’ By Freshman Republican Congressman"

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Rep. David Rivera (R-FL)

Rep. David Rivera (R-FL)

Investigators at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement identified “possible criminal and ethical violations” by freshman Rep. David Rivera (R-FL). Among these were filing erroneous personal financial reports while a member of the Florida House of Representatives, falsely amending those disclosures after media criticism, and using campaign and government accounts to reimburse his own personal expenses.

The report says:

Analysis of documents obtained to date supports the contention that Mr. Rivera purposely falsified his financial disclosure forms in an attempt to legitimize other source of income beyond his salary as a State Legislator. First, Mr. Rivera provided information on his initial financial disclosure submissions that wasfalse and then amended the forms to remove the information. Second, Mr. Rivera amended his financial disclosure forms claiming that $132,000 received from Millennium Marketing were liabilities (loans), when, in fact, documentary evidence indicates that it was compensation for being employed as a consultant to the Flagler Dog Track for the gaming referendum.

The Miami Herald reported yesterday that state prosecutors will not charge Rivera, as the statute of limitations has expired. IRS and FBI investigations into Rivera’s alleged tax evasion and failure to disclose $132,000 in “loans” from a company co-owned by his mother are reportedly ongoing. Rivera has denied the allegations and his campaign said in statements that Rivera “at all times acted in compliance with both the letter and spirit of Florida and federal campaign finance laws and has timely and properly reported all personal income” and that the investigation was an “unprofessional waste of taxpayer dollars.”

In 2010, now-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) promised that if his party won the majority in the midterm elections, he (as majority leader) ‘institute a zero-tolerance policy‘ on ethics violations. In light of these serious charges, the Republican leadership could show its commitment to this policy by beginning an Ethics Committee investigation, stripping him of his committee assignments, calling for his resignation or even moving to remove him from Congress. It has done none of these things. Even with these apparent ethical breaches, they continue to let Rivera serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee (and, ironically, its Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee) and the Committee on Natural Resources.

This is yet another in a growing series of examples of just how little Cantor’s promised “zero tolerance” policy for ethical scandals really means.

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