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Florida Congressman Under FBI and IRS Investigation

David Rivera is a Republican member of the House of Representatives, representing Florida’s 25th congressional district, which is based in South Florida. The Miami Herald is reporting that Rivera is now under investigation by the FBI and IRS for income tax evasion.

Authorities are examining a $1 million consulting contract between Flagler Dog Track, now known as Magic City Casino, and Millennium Marketing, which is co-owned by Rivera’s mother and her business partner. In October 2006, Millennium was hired to assist Flagler with a campaign to expand gambling in Miami-Dade County by having casino-style slot machines at pari-mutuels. Voters approved the expansion in January 2008.

The focus of the investigation is on Rivera’s work performed on the campaign on behalf of Flagler that was not disclosed as income. An attorney for Magic City claims that Rivera approached Flagler about the pro-slots campaign, and that neither Rivera’s mother nor her business partner were involved in the contract negotiations. Allegedly, Rivera did not report as income various payments received by Millennium under the contract. Although Rivera initially denied receiving any payments for work on the slots campaign, he later admitted to receiving “loans” from Millennium.

Like any good lawyer should, I must note that Rivera stands innocent until proven guilty. Rivera recently stated in an e-mail that federal authorities have not contacted him regarding the investigation. We’ll see what the investigation reveals, if anything.

Whether or not he’s guilty, it seems like Rivera made some poorly calculated moves. People are going to ask questions about a contract involving a political campaign and six figure payments that a congressman was closely tied to, particularly if he was initially quiet about it. It just smells of wrongdoing.

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