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David Rivera

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Title: David Rivera  
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Subject: Florida's 25th congressional district, United States House of Representatives elections, 2012, Jeanette Núñez, Congressional Hispanic Conference, United States House of Representatives elections in Florida, 2010
Collection: 1965 Births, American Politicians of Cuban Descent, Florida International University Alumni, Florida Republicans, Hispanic and Latino American Members of the United States Congress, Living People, Members of the Florida House of Representatives, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Florida, People from Miami, Florida, Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives
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David Rivera

David Rivera
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 25th district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Mario Diaz-Balart
Succeeded by Joe Garcia
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 112th district
In office
Preceded by Mario Diaz-Balart
Succeeded by Jeanette Nuñez
Personal details
Born (1965-09-16) September 16, 1965
New York City, New York
Political party Republican
Residence Miami, Florida
Alma mater Miami Christian School
Florida International University (B.A.)
Florida International University (Masters)
Religion Catholic

David Mauricio Rivera (born September 16, 1965) was the U.S. Representative for Florida's 25th congressional district and is a member of the Republican Party. Formerly, he was a Florida state representative who served District 112. He is also a Miami-based public affairs consultant.


  • Early life, education, and early career 1
  • Florida House of Representatives 2
    • Elections 2.1
    • Tenure 2.2
    • Committee assignments 2.3
  • U.S. House of Representatives 3
    • Elections 3.1
    • Committee assignments 3.2
  • Controversies 4
    • Domestic violence allegations 4.1
    • Mail truck collision 4.2
    • Additional source of income 4.3
    • Dog track payments 4.4
    • Funding a shadow campaign 4.5
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life, education, and early career

Rivera was born in New York City on September 16, 1965 and moved to Florida in 1974. He graduated from Miami Christian High School. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Political Science from Florida International University in 1986 and his MPA in 1994.[1]

After college, Rivera worked as Armando Valladares, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Then, he worked for the Office of Cuba Broadcasting managed by auspices of the U.S. State Department. He has also been an adjunct professor in the FIU School of Policy and Management. His articles on U.S.-Cuba relations have been published in The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald.

Florida House of Representatives


In 2002, he ran for Florida's 112th house district of the Florida House of Representatives. In the Republican primary, he defeated Ray Gonzalez 52%-48%.[2] He won the general election unopposed. No Democrat ever filed to run against him as he won re-election unopposed in 2004, 2006 and 2008.


In addition to his legislative office, he has served the Republican Party as State Committeeman for the Republican Party of Florida and as the Executive Director for the Republican Party of Miami-Dade County.[3][4]

Committee assignments

  • Full Appropriations Council on Education & Economic Development (Chair)

U.S. House of Representatives



In January 2009, Rivera filed to run for the state senate seat being vacated by J. Alex Villalobos.[5] However, when neighboring U.S. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart decided not to run for another term in 2010, his brother, U.S. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, opted to run for a new term in Lincoln's district rather than his current one. This created an opening in the seat and prompted Rivera to announce he would run for Florida's 25th congressional district on February 25, 2010. On August 24, he won the Republican primary with 63% of the vote.[6] On November 2, Rivera defeated Democratic nominee Joe Garcia 52%-43%.[7]


Redistricting resulted in Rivera's district being renumbered as the 26th district. It lost its share of Collier County and picked up the Florida Keys, as well as portions of Miami-Dade County. While the old 25th leaned Republican, the new 26th is more of a swing district and is equally split between Democrats and Republicans. In a rematch from 2010, Garcia defeated Rivera 54%-43%.[8][9]


In May 2014, Rivera announced he would run again,[10] but temporarily suspended his bid in July, saying he would run for the State House in 2016 instead. He cited a court decision which said that two of the state's congressional districts had to be redrawn, though the case did not affect the 26th district.

Yet, in late July and early August, voters reported receiving robocalls urging them to vote for Rivera along with a Facebook entry on David Rivera for Congress stating formally he had re-entered the race.[11] He appeared on the Republican ballot and received 2,209 votes (7.49%), coming fourth out of five candidates. The National Journal called his attempted comeback "hapless" and "the worst congressional comeback attempt of all time."[12]

Committee assignments


Domestic violence allegations

On October 13, 1994 a domestic abuse charge was filed in Miami-Dade County against one David M. Rivera. Rivera denies that he was the defendant in the 1994 domestic violence case, and the victim of the attack has maintained that David Rivera, the politician, was not the defendant in her case.[13] The case file has been destroyed by the court (case files are retained for only 5 years,).[14]

The Miami Herald reported that according to a woman who is friendly with the victim's brother, Rivera and the victim came to her home as a couple to attend a dinner party about 10 years ago. The victim's mother also once worked on one of Rivera's political campaigns, records show.[14]

Mail truck collision

On September 6, 2002, Rivera was involved in a traffic collision with a truck carrying thousands of fliers, produced by Rivera's campaign opponent at the time, that included a last-minute attack on Rivera's character and detailed past domestic violence accusations against him.[15] According to reports filed by the Florida Highway Patrol, a car driven by Rivera hit the truck and forced it to the shoulder of the Palmetto Expressway, ten minutes before the truck's 6 p.m. deadline to deliver the fliers to the post office, preventing the fliers from being delivered in time to be mailed.[14][16]

Rivera has said that he had planned to meet up with the truck on an exit ramp off the Expressway so he could retrieve a batch of his own campaign fliers.[17] The owner of the company that produced the anti-Rivera fliers maintains that the truck driver did not voluntarily pull off the highway. According to the FHP incident report, the collision occurred in the middle of the road.[18]

Additional source of income

Rivera on more than one occasion stated in sworn documents that his primary source of personal income, besides his salary from the Florida State Legislature, was from freelancing consulting work he did for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). However, when the Miami Herald asked USAID, the agency said that Rivera never worked for them.[19] On October 21 of 2010, a suit was filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court stating that Rivera should be disqualified from running for office for violating state laws requiring public officials and candidates to file full and complete financial disclosure forms. After the initial investigation was reported, Rivera amended his disclosure forms, removing any reference to USAID as a source of income for the seven years in question. [20]

Dog track payments

The Miami Herald has reported that "[t]he Miami-Dade state attorney's office is investigating more than $500,000 in secret payments from the owners of the Flagler Dog Track to a company tied to" Rivera.[21] According to the Herald: "Most of the money was paid in early 2008, weeks after Rivera -- then a member of the Florida House of Representatives -- helped run a political campaign backed by the dog track to win voter approval for Las Vegas-style slot machines at parimutuel venues in Miami-Dade County."[21] Rivera did not report any income from either company in financial disclosure forms filed with the Florida Ethics Commission, but instead "reported that he worked during those years as a consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development," which had no record of him ever having worked there.[21] The Florida Department of Law Enforcement subsequently took the lead in the investigation.[22]

In July 2012, the State Attorney’s office released documents regarding their investigation, including a bill of information which listed 52 charges prepared against Rivera. The bulk of the charges listed were for grand theft and money laundering, as well as racketeering and illegal use of campaign funds. Other charges for theft were also included.[23]

The close-out memo provided by the State Attorney indicated that Rivera was not charged due to a statute of limitations and because of the difficulty in trying the case, citing lack of precedence in the Florida courts in dealing with such egregious behavior by a politician. Despite the decision not to prosecture, the State Attorney made a strong case that Rivera had indeed broken the law, saying "[David Rivera] intentionally committed multiple instances of theft by converting funds in his campaign depositories and using them for purposes otherwise not permitted by law".[24]

While the State Attorney and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have closed their cases, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service continue to investigate.[25]

Funding a shadow campaign

In August 2012, The Miami Herald reported that Rivera and campaign allies may have secretly funded Justin Lamar Sternad as a Democratic 'straw' primary challenger to Rivera's rival Joe Garcia, in order to later defeat Sternad in the 2010 election.[26]

Democrat Justin Lamar Sternad, a hotel auditor and political unknown in South Florida, filed October 31, 2011 to run for Congress in Florida's 26th District. Sternad's campaign issued direct mailers to voters, portraying himself "as American as apple pie" to the largely Caucasian community in the Florida Keys alleging that he was the only candidate born in the United States even though his primary opponent, Joe Garcia was born in Miami Beach, Florida. Many of Sternads mailers were very sophisticated and contained conservative positions, such as making English the official language of the United States and opposing immigration reform policies. Sternad directly attacked Garcia, claiming that, "like Newt Gingrich and John Edwards", Garcia had left his wife after she developed cancer.

According to the owner of the direct mail company and the owner of the company that gathered the voter lists, Rivera was directly involved in the planning and funding of Sternad's campaign, going as far as directing an employee to retrieve an envelope with $7,000 worth of cash in the mailbox outside the business. Later developments showed that Sternad's campaign manager was Ana Alliegro, a close personal friend of Rivera's and a self-described "conservative bad girl."

In August, the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that they were conducting an investigation into the allegations. On September 7, 2012, the Miami Herald reported that Alliegro had gone missing after failing to appear for questioning one day after her computer, mobile phone, and other items were seized in a raid on her apartment. Her parents and lawyer claim to have had no contact with her since her sudden disappearance.[27] She is currently cutting hair in Nicaragua.[28]

On September 25, the Herald reported that Sternad was cooperating with the FBI in its investigation of Rivera. According to sources close to the investigation, Sternad told the FBI that Rivera had indeed secretly funded his primary challenge, with Alliegro acting as the go-between. Sternad turned himself in to federal custody on February 22, 2012, apologized, and is expected to be charged with conspiracy and accepting campaign contributions in excess of the Campaign Finance Law limits.[29][30]

Rivera continues to deny any involvement and has said he does not know Sternad.


  1. ^ "RIVERA, David". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Full Biography | Congressman David Rivera". Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  4. ^ "David Rivera: Biography". 2002-11-05. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  5. ^ "THE BUZZ: FLORIDA POLITICS. '''St. Petersburg Times.''' January 21, 2009. Online. February 25, 2009". 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2011-04-07. (subscription required)
  6. ^
  7. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Under federal investigation, ex-Rep. David Rivera announces he'll run for congress again".  
  11. ^ "David Rivera suspends Miami campaign for Congress".  
  12. ^ "The Worst Congressional Comeback Attempt Ever?".  
  13. ^ Hunt, Kasie (August 20, 2010). "'"Rivera: Complaint 'had nothing to do with me. POLITICO. Retrieved August 21, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b c Lebovich, Jennifer (August 19, 2010). "Congressional candidate David Rivera fights off old attacks". Miami Herald. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  15. ^ Stock, Stephen (August 17, 2010). "I-Team: Questions Remain of David Rivera's Crash". CBS 4 Miami. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  16. ^ Jackson, Jill (August 20, 2010). "Democrats Seize on David Rivera Controversies". CBS News. Retrieved September 30, 2010. 
  17. ^ Allen, Nicole (August 20, 2010). "Campaign Scandals Are Weirder in Florida". Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved September 30, 2010. 
  18. ^ Hiaasen, Scott (August 19, 2010). "David Rivera fights of nasty attack from GOP rivals for Congress". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved September 30, 2010. 
  19. ^ Hiaasen, Scott (October 13, 2010). "Source of Florida U.S. House candidate Rivera's income is unclear". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on October 14, 2010. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  20. ^ Hiaasen, Scott (October 25, 2010). "Democratic donor sues to remove David Rivera from congressional ballot". Miami Herald. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  21. ^ a b c Hiaasen, Scott and Mazzei, Patricia (2010-12-16) A $500,000 question over track's payments, Miami Herald
  22. ^ Hiaasen, Scott (January 19, 2011). "FDLE takes lead in David Rivera probe". Miami Herald. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  23. ^ "State Attorney Bill of Information". State Attorney's Office. June 28, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  24. ^ "State Attorney's Closet-Out Memorandum". State Attorney's Office. April 17, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  25. ^ Hiaasen, Scott (July 21, 2011). "Feds investigate Congressman David Rivera on casino contract". Miami Herald. Retrieved July 22, 2011. 
  26. ^ Caputo, Marc (August 21, 2012). "Campaign vendors say Republican Congressman David Rivera funded Democrat’s failed primary bid". Miami Herald. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  27. ^ Caputo, Marc (September 7, 2012). "In FBI probe, Rep. David Rivera’s pal goes on lam, has computer seized". Miami Herald. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  28. ^ Alvarado, Francisco (April 18, 2013). "David Rivera's Missing Pal Ana Alliegro Found Hiding in Nicaragua". Miami New Times. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  29. ^ Caputo, Marc (21 February 2013). "Suspect in David Rivera campaign-finance scandal charged Friday with federal crimes". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  30. ^ Miami, March 15, 2013, Suspect in David Rivera campaign-finance scandal pleads guilty in court, apologizes outside court By Marc Caputo and Jay Weaver [1][2]

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mario Diaz-Balart
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 25th congressional district

January 3, 2011 –January 3, 2013
Succeeded by
Joe Garcia
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