As Joe Garcia desperately fought to hang onto his Congressional office this fall, we described it as the battle for "Florida's dirtiest district." After all, Garcia's predecessor, David Rivera, has faced down repeated investigations from the feds and watched former colleague Ana Alliegro head to prison over an election scheme. And Garcia himself was no sooner elected than his chief of staff was sent behind bars over absentee ballot fraud.
So really, no one should be shocked that former Miami Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo -- the Republican who beat Garcia in November's mid-terms -- has already found himself in hot water before even being sworn in.
The Federal Election Commission has formally asked Cubelo to explain more than $93,000 that was either omitted from his campaign reports or mislabeled, the Broward Bulldog reports.
The missing, mislabeled cash first came to light just a few days before the election, when Curbelo filed an amended report that admitted his campaign had misidentified about $40,000 from political action committees as donations from individuals and had completely missed another $50,000 in PAC funds.
The result was his new report showed a hefty $133,000 from PACs just before the final vote, which saw him beat Garcia 52-48 for a district that includes much of the southern portion of Dade County as well as the Keys.
The FEC has now sent two requests to Curbelo's campaign manager, the Bulldog reports, asking for more explanation about the mistakes, which his campaign had blamed on computer errors.
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But the errors did have real consequences in the campaign, including obscuring a final $5,000 donation from KochPAC, the committee run by the lightening-rod Koch brothers; Garcia had used the Koch's influence as a campaign point and had he known in advance about the final donation, could conceivably have made an issue of it.
The campaign issues aren't the only troubling sign that Curbelo is primed to continue the dirty dealing ways of his predecessors, either. The politico changed ownership of his P.R. and lobbying firm to his wife to avoid disclosing his clientele during the campaign -- a move that led Dems to request a federal probe.
His campaign tells the Herald that the latest FEC requests will be dealt with shortly; "We're not trying to hide anything," a spokesman tells the daily.