David Rivera and Allen West Finish Final Day as Congressmen (But It's Not The Last You'll Hear of Either)
Whether you're a Democrat, independent, or the apparently small number of Republicans left who realized that their party is still in control of the body and is probably better off in the long run without these two controversial South Florida schmucks creating distraction, can we all come together and agree that the House of Representatives is a far better place today for no longer including Reps. David Rivera and Allen West?
Yes, after a mere one term in D.C., each both woke up this morning no longer congressmen. Rivera's replacement Joe Garcia and West's replacement Patrick Murphy (or Lois Frankel, depending on how you look at it post-redistricting) were officially sworn in yesterday to the 113th Congress.
Even though their stint in D.C. lasted only two years, both made a memorable impression and generated an amount of headlines uncommon for freshmen lawmakers. Unfortunately, it was often for the wrong reasons.
Elected with the support of the Tea Party in a district that covered parts of Broward and Palm Beach County, West quickly became a well-known loudmouth and symbol of the rage and often bizarre logic of that particular short-lived political movement. Whether he was claiming that about 80 of his Democratic colleagues were actually secret communists or calling Debbie Wasserman Schultz the "most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the U.S. House of Representatives," West was never at loss for a ridiculous word. Surely our sister blog, The Pulp, is mourning his loss. They covered every instance of his inanity in grueling detail.
While West's sideshow brand of shouty politics garnered more national interest, Rep. David Rivera made him look rather innocent and trivial in comparison. West may have broken the laws of good decorum. Rivera probably broke the actual laws. Many of them.
Rivera came into office with the lingering smell of corruption on him like a cheap perfume. There were accusations he ran a courier truck delivering flyers for a rival campaign of the road, shady dog track payments to his mother, the filing of official documents claiming he was employed by a company that had never heard of him, and that foreclosed home he owned with golden boy Marco Rubio. Though, like Teflon, Rivera has so far managed to escape criminal punishment.
It was the latest round of accusations that brought him down, though. Allegedly he helped to fund the campaign of a ringer in his rival's Democratic primary campaign. He's allegedly picked up a random guy, Justin "Lamar" Sternad, set him up with close friend and self described "Conservative Bad Girl" Ana Sol Alliegro to run his campaign, and the shadiness just flowed from there. It's a controversy that involves cash stuffed envelopes, broken promises and an FBI investigation. And, oh yeah, Alliegro went missing shortly after shit hit the fan and still hasn't surfaced.
We're sure this isn't the last we've heard of West. How long until he gets a Fox News contributor gig?
We're more interested, however, in Rivera's ongoing fallout. His legal battles are far from done, and if the more bizarre of the accusation are proven he could find himself behind bars.
More importantly, his connections to Marco Rubio will certainly prove damning if Miami's wonder boy ever does decide to make a move at the presidency. Rubio and Rivera are close friends (and as we mentioned owned a house in Tallahassee together). Despite all the controversy, Rubio even recorded a robocall for Rivera in the days before the election.
Remember back to the 2008 election where we heard so much about Obama's (supposed) ties to Tony Rezko, Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers? Yeah, if Rubio runs in 2016, expect opponents and the media to dig deep into his past with Rivera. Perhaps with more dire consequences.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.