More legal woes for Florida Rep. Rivera
Freshman Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) is the target of a second federal criminal investigation into undisclosed payments a Miami gambling venture made to a company with ties to the congressman, according to a report Thursday in the Miami Herald.
Rivera is already in hot water over his ties to the gambling enterprise: state law enforcement agencies have been investigating the lawmaker’s personal and campaign finances for roughly six months. Here is more from the Herald:
Agents with the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service have begun interviewing witnesses knowledgeable about a $1 million consulting contract between Flagler Dog Track — now known as Magic City Casino — and Millennium Marketing, a company co-owned by Rivera’s 70-year-old mother and her business partner, according to sources familiar with the investigation. The involvement of the IRS, and the questions agents have asked, indicate Rivera is the subject of an income-tax evasion inquiry.
The federal probe could heighten scrutiny in Washington over Rivera, who is struggling to raise funds for his reelection in 2012 with the investigation looming over him.
Rivera, the former chairman of the Miami-Dade Republican Party known for his fundraising prowess, raised almost $2 million for his 2010 election campaign. But in the second quarter of 2011, he only took in $33,500. His mother contributed $10,000 of his total.
The lawmakers has for months denied any wrongdoing. The Herald reported: Through his campaign, Rivera said in a Thursday email that he has not been contacted by federal investigators, and said that he has never received “income” from the casino or Millennium Marketing.
House Republican leaders have remained mum on Rivera’s predicament. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that he will wait until the investigation plays out to make a judgment on Rivera.
Meanwhile, Democrats have looked to play up the investigation as an example of Republicans breaking their 2010 campaign pledge to have a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to ethics troubles in the House GOP conference. Rivera this week received a Democratic challenger for his 25th district seat: state Rep. Luis Garcia, the former fire chief of Miami Beach.
Read the full story at the Herald here.