Politico reported this morning on how the ethical troubles of Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, are affecting his relationship with the House GOP caucus in Washington. Neither Majority Leader Cantor nor Speaker Boehner has said anything publicly since Rivera is still under investigation by Florida law enforcement, but quietly, they are frustrated and even planning for his replacement:
Boehner has yet to comment on the allegations involving Rivera, yet behind the scenes, GOP insiders already are drawing contingency plans for a replacement should the freshman lawmaker resign or be forced to step aside, according to multiple Republican sources.
In addition, there is anger and frustration at Rivera in GOP leadership circles. Rivera is described by Republicans as being “less than candid” or “not forthcoming” about his ethics problems in conversations with leadership aides and campaign operatives, and they have been surprised on several occasions as new allegations surface.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is currently investigating a loans-for-slots scheme, in which Rivera received $137,000 in loans from a company co-owned by his mother that received payments from Flagler Dog Track as it was campaigning the legislature to allow slot machines when Rivera was a state representative, first reported by The Miami Herald. The probe has expanded to other payments he made as a state representative to his mother’s company, Millennium Marketing, and a defunct company co-owned by a top aide’s daughter.
Rep. Rivera won the first term in a heavily Republican Miami district last November despite a history of ethics problems. He falsified claims on his state financial disclosure forms that he had worked as a contractor for USAID. He was forced to amend the forms to reflect that he had not, and questions arose over other sources of income beyond his $30,000 salary as a state representative. He also faced allegations that he had run a truck containing an opponent’s flyers off the Palmetto Expressway in a 2002 campaign.
Luke Johnson reports on Florida for The American Independent.