Republican Rep. David Rivera is now under investigation by three separate agencies who are all looking into ethics charges involving his campaign finances. Perhaps no one told him, because he sure doesn't have anything to say about it. Since his district includes part of Collier County, Rivera decided to give a rare lengthy interview on Naples Daily News editorial page editor Jeff Lytle's local talk show. Lytle raked Rivera over the coals, while the politician repeatedly tried to sidestep the ethics issue. The lengths Rivera goes not to give a straight answer are almost painful to watch.
Rivera doesn't get off on the right foot as he seems to address Lytle by the name "Bill" at the beginning of the show. Lytle is unfazed and gets straight down to business almost immediately bringing up the ethics charges.
Lytle: But I bet your constituents are also concerned about ethics, and you promised, before going to Washington ... you promised a government that does less taking and more giving. Yet we see you under investigation by the Miami-Dade Police Department, Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, three agencies.
Rivera: Well, actually I'm probably the most transparent member of Congress as of right now.
One of the first things I did, Jeff, when I got to Congress -- and I'm actually the only congressman that has done that so far -- is I released my financial disclosures on day one; actually the same day that we got to Washington. And the reason I did that was to put everything out there and to dispel a lot of any concerns that may have been put out there during the campaign ... during the last campaign mainly and by others.
Let me tell you, I didn't have to do that until I believe it's May of this year. I am the only member of Congress that has put out their federal financial disclosure before anybody else has done so.
Lytle: But some of this material that has come to be disclosed didn't come out until the Miami Herald was ready to disclose it for you. You went to Tallahassee and disclosed ...
Rivera: ... Actually ...
Lytle: ... Let me finish now.
Rivera: ... I wasn't able to do that before I got to Washington. I had to first be in Washington, be sworn in, be a member of Congress to be able to disclose all of this.
The interview continues for the next 30 minutes more or less the same way. Everytime Lytle brings up the charges, Rivera repeats the odd claim that he is the most transparent member of congress before listing off a number of Republican talking points without giving much substance.
At one point Rivera tries to dismiss the fact that he gave more than $813,000 to a political consultant by saying he was merely trying to pay journalist's salary. See, if Rivera didn't put ads in the newspapers the media couldn't survive. Apparently. He also tries to paint Lytle for being out of touch for not asking about the economy while focusing only on the ethics charges.
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All in all, it's a bizarre appearance. Perhaps Rivera thought they just hadn't heard about this whole ethics thing over in Collier County? You can watch more clips from the interview at The Naples Daily News.