Here's a disturbing contrast in the way the U.S. media approaches political scandals: One congressman accidentally tweets a picture of his boxer-brief-clad boner, and a week's worth of wall-to-wall media coverage ends in teary and bizarre press coverage and leaders of his own party calling for an investigation. Another congressman stands accused of misreporting his source of income on campaign reports, taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal payments from a greyhound track, and ramming a mail truck carrying campaign mailers from a rival candidate, yet he is allowed to conduct his business relatively in peace. Of course we're talking about New York's Anthony Weiner and Miami's David Rivera.
Rivera has been engulfed in scandal since soon after taking office. During seven years in the Florida Legislature, he claimed income from consulting work he did for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in several sworn documents. However, the Miami Herald called up USAID, and they said they had never employed Rivera or paid him for anything. Rivera never offered much explanation for why he was reporting income for USAID or where the income actually came from.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office is also investigating Rivera for accepting more than $500,000 in payments from Flagler Dog Track. Rivera has led a successful campaign in the legislature to allow slot machines at certain racetracks in Miami-Dade, including Flager (now known as Magic City Casino). Weeks later, the track paid $510,000 to a consulting firm co-owned by Rivera's 71-year-old mother.
Rivera is also accused of inexplicably reimbursing himself for $60,000 using campaign funds.
There was also the time in 2002 when Rivera just happened to get into a collision with a delivery truck carrying mailers from a political opponent.
Rivera has had little to say in the matter and squirmed nervously when a journalist tried to get him to explain the controversies.
It's not difficult to see why the Weiner scandal is much more high-profile than Rivera's exploits. Weiner's involves sex, Twitter, and other things the media is obsessed with. Rivera's involves just a boring ol' shady-money deal. But it's hard to argue that the accusations surrounding Rivera are not far more serious (and thus deserving of attention) than those involving Weiner.
Maybe we just have to dig up Rivera crotch shots for people to care. In the meantime, we have that hot new Rivera picture above: It's the congressmen, for some reason, dressed as a UPS guy. Which is ironic considering his past with mail delivery trucks.
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