Rep. David Rivera Broke Ethics Laws, According to State Commission

For a while it seemed like GOP Rep. David Rivera may as well have been named Teflon Dave. No matter what accusations were flung at him, nothing stuck.

Now, it looks like he's running out of luck. The Florida Commission on Ethics has found that Rivera broke state laws by failing to fully disclose his finances while serving as a state lawmaker between 2005 and 2009, and also that his contract to run a campaign to expand gambling in Miami-Dade created a conflict of interest.

This is all in addition to the ongoing FBI investigation into allegations he funded a Democratic ringer in the primary against his challenger Joe Garcia.

The Commission declared today that they had found probable cause that Rivera committed 11 violations of ethics laws while serving in Tallahassee.

In 2006, the Commission claims Rivera signed a $1 million contact with Southwest Florida Enterprises Inc., the company that owns the dog track now known as Magic City Casino. Rivera was charged with running a campaign to expand gambling in Miami-Dade County. Rivera had the money sent to Millennium Marketing Group, a company that was founded by his mother and her close friend who has been identified as Rivera's "godmother."

However, $132,000 was routed back into Rivera's pockets. The congressmen claims the money was in the form of loans, and did not need to be reported as income.

The Commission also believes Rivera requested illegal reimbursements from his campaign for travel, and failed to declare debts.

Rivera has called the findings "false," and may fight the charges. The Commission however has no power to penalize Rivera. Any punishment would have to be doled out by the Florida House.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement had previously investigated Rivera's finances, but closed the case due to lax rules and statute of limitations. His finances are still under investigation by the IRS and FBI.

The FBI is also investigating Rivera's connection to Democratic ringer candidate Justin Lamar Sternad. Sternad has reportedly told the FBI that Rivera helped to run and finance his campaign.

Rivera made the leap from Tallahassee to DC in 2010, but is currently in a tight race to keep his congressional seat against democrat Joe Garcia.

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