Rep. David Rivera reportedly under investigation by FBI, IRS

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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Florida Republican Rep. David Rivera isn’t out of the woods — yet. The FBI and IRS have launched an investigation into Rivera’s finances, the Miami Herald reports.

According to the Herald, investigators may be probing possible tax evasion relating to a campaign to legalize slot machines in Miami-Dade County.

In 2006, Millennium Marketing — a consulting company co-owned by Rivera’s mother — signed a contract for $510,000 with Flagler Dog Track for a campaign to legalize slot machines in the county.

Rivera, then a state legislator, was not employed by the racetrack, but led the pro-slots campaign. In the dog racetrack’s contract with Millennium he was named as the effort’s “Top Leader of Chain of Command.” According to the racetrack’s attorney, Rivera approached the company about the arrangement.

In 2008 voters approved the pro-slots measure. According to the Herald, just days after the vote Rivera introduced a bill in the state legislature to overturn the referendum’s results. After introducing the unsuccessful bill, his mother’s company received $460,000 in fees from the racetrack, according to the Herald.

Between 2003 and 2009, Rivera reported that he worked for USAID on financial disclosure forms filed to the Florida Commission on Ethics. Rivera was forced to revise the filings after USAID said that it had no record of his employment.

After winning election to Congress in 2010, Rivera was compelled to update federal financial disclosure forms to reflect $132,000 in previously undisclosed “loans” from his mother’s company.

Rivera’s campaign office released a statement that, “Contrary to the Herald’s insinuation, Congressman Rivera has not been contacted by the FBI or IRS on any matter whatsoever.” (CREW praises Boehner as ‘ruthless’ enforcer of congressional ethics)

Democrats have been eyeing Rivera’s district as a prime pick-up opportunity in 2012. Rivera’s fundraising yields have taken a sharp nosedive. The congressman raised only $33,500 in the second quarter of this year — $10,000 was from his mother and her business partner.