Newly elected Rep. David Rivera's ethics troubles continue to be a source of shame for both his Republican party and his Miami-Dade constituency. The Associated Press has added more charges to his ever-growing list of suspicious dealings with money. The news wire reports that over the eight years he spent in the state legislature he gave himself more than $160,000 in campaign reimbursements, about $60,000 are completely unexplained.
Reimbursing a candidate for campaign expense is somewhat common, but the $160,000 Rivera received from his own campaign far exceed that of other Florida legislature who had their campaign finances reviewed by the AP. In those other cases, candidates at least explained what the reimbursements were for, but Rivera didn't even bother offering up an explanation for $60,000 of that money. Such explanations are required under state law. The AP doesn't quite connect the dots, but the impression is that Rivera may have funneled campaign money into his own pockets unless he manages to come up with an explanation for why he was reimbursed.
Rivera claims he has done nothing wrong. During his state election campaigns Rivera acted as his own treasurer. The reimbursements for his federal campaign were much lower and mostly all explained as Rivera hired a separate treasurer.
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This is just the latest controversy for Rivera. During his time in the legislature he claimed he worked for USAID, but the agency has said they never employed him. Investigators are also looking why a firm co-managed by his mother received $500,000 in payments from the Flager Dog Track.
The news comes in the same week that Politico reports the GOP is already making plans to replace Rivera should he resign or be forced from office.