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FL Dems Call on Rivera to Come Clean

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Rivera should come clean about his involvement in Sternad's campaign so south Florida voters can judge his record for themselves

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Following today's explosive report by the Miami Herald revealing that failed candidate Lamar Sternad told federal law enforcement authorities that U.S. Rep. David Rivera ran a shadow campaign for Sternad 'that might have broken federal laws,"  the Florida Democratic Party issued the following statement calling on Rep. Rivera to finally come clean to the people of South Florida about his involvement in the campaign so that they can judge his record for themselves: 

STATEMENT FROM FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SCOTT ARCENEAUX

"It is past time for Representative David Rivera to come clean about his involvement in this notorious and likely illegal shadow campaign. Each day seems to bring more news about Rivera and his cronies' scandalous activities, leaving little doubt that the congressman is more concerned with saving his own political life than looking out for his constituents' interests in Washington.  With just about 40 days until the election and absentee ballots dropping next week, the people of south Florida deserve to have all the facts about Rivera's record, character and actions before they walk into polling booths on Election Day. That's why today, Florida Democrats call on Rivera to come clean about his involvement in Sternad's campaign so that law enforcement can do its work and Florida voters can learn the truth about Rivera's involvement in this nefarious, and potentially illegal scheme." 

BACKGROUND

Today, the Miami Herald reported that Lamar Sternad told federal authorities that Rivera was behind his shadow campaign. "Justin Lamar Sternad, whose failed congressional campaign became the subject of a federal grand-jury investigation, has told the FBI that U.S. Rep. David Rivera was secretly behind his run for office, The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald have learned. Sternad, 35, also told authorities that his campaign manager, Ana Sol Alliegro, acted as the conduit between the campaign and Rivera, who allegedly steered unreported cash to the Democrat’s campaign, according to sources familiar with the investigation and records shared with The Herald. Sternad said Alliegro referred to the congressman by his initials, 'D.R.,' and called him by the nickname, 'The Gangster.'”[Miami Herald, 9/25/12]

Rivera faces separate criminal investigations by the FBI and Miami-Dade police for allegedly helping run a shadow campaign against Democrat Joe Garcia. “The FBI and Miami-Dade police have opened separate criminal investigations into the campaign of a Democratic congressional candidate who, vendors say, was aided by GOP Rep. David Rivera. Federal agents gathered campaign records, invoices and began interviewing employees at two mail and data companies used by Democrat Justin Lamar Sternad’s primary campaign. Sternad spent about $43,000 in unreported cash and checks on mail services, a witness told The Herald and authorities. Some of the money was stuffed in envelopes bulging with $100 bills.” [Miami Herald, 8/23/12]

Rivera allegedly ran a shadowy campaign that might have broken federal laws. “Fueled with $43,000 in secret money, Republican Rep. David Rivera helped run a shadow campaign that might have broken federal laws in last week’s Democratic primary against his political nemesis Joe Garcia, according to campaign sources and finance records. As part of the effort, a political unknown named Justin Lamar Sternad campaigned against Garcia by running a sophisticated mail campaign that Rivera helped orchestrate and fund, campaign vendors said. “Among the revelations: The mailers were often paid in envelopes stuffed with crisp hundred-dollar bills.” [Miami Herald, 8/22/12]

A key witness in the federal investigation against Rivera failed to show up for interview with FBI agents and prosecutors and went missing.  “A key witness in the federal investigation against U.S. Rep. David Rivera failed to show up for an interview with prosecutors and FBI agents, and her family says they are worried of her whereabouts. Ana Alliegro, a campaign manager for former Democratic congressional candidate Justin Lamar Sternad, is at the center of the federal probe of Sternad and Rivera. FBI agents are investigating whether the Republican congressman used Alliegro to secretly fund Sternad’s primary race against Rivera’s longtime rival, Joe Garcia.” [Miami Herald, 9/7/12 

Data Firm Said Rivera Requested List of Targeted Voters.“Rivera and Sternad have denied working together in his campaign, which ended Aug. 14. But Hugh Cochran, president of Campaign Data, told The Herald this week that Rivera contacted him in July and requested he create a list of voters who were ultimately targeted in the 11 mailers sent by Sternad’s campaign [...] Cochran said he spoke numerous times with Rivera, produced the lists of targeted voters and emailed it to Rapid Mail and computer Services in Hialeah, which mailed the fliers. Cochran cc’d the owner and Rivera in a July 29 email, which he provided to the Herald.” [Miami Herald, 8/21/12]

Nearly All of Mailers Were Paid for With Cash. “Among the revelations: The mailers were often paid in envelopes stuffed with crisp hundred-dollar bills [...] Interviews with campaign sources, invoices, campaign records and other documents show that Rivera personally and frequently called Rapid Mail about Sternad’s mailers. During one call, Rivera directed an employee to walk outside, check the office mailbox for an envelope containing payment for one mailer, the sources said. The envelope was stuffed with cash- $7,800 [...] The Herald has learned that Sternad sent more mailers funded by more secretive cash. The campaign mailed at least 11 fliers totaling at least $43,000. Nearly all of the mailers were paid for in cash as well. One was paid with a check from a third party vendor, sources told the Herald.” [Miami Herald, 8/21/12]

FEC Reports Show Few Expenditures With None to Personnel or for Mail

Pre-Primary: Reported No Contributions and Spending Only $185.98 . In his pre-primary report , Sternad reported no contributions and spending $185.98. He had $120.97 cash on hand and $10,828.60 in debt at the end of the reporting period. Sternad reported spending $15.95 on postage and $58.85 on telephone fees. He paid Live Colors Group $90.95 for graphics and signage. He spent $20.23 at Walmart on office supplies. [FEC Pre-Primary report, 8/03/12]

FEC Previously Sent Notice of Failure to File for Pre-Primary Report. On August 3, the FEC sent Sternad a notice of failure to file for his pre-primary report. [Notice of Failure to File, 8/03/12]

Q2 2012: Reported $10,800 Loan, Most of Which Spent on Qualifying Fee.  In his 2012 Q2 report, Sternad reported receiving no contributions and spending $10,526.45.  Sternad had $306.95 cash on hand and $10,803.60 in debt at the end of the reporting period. Sternad loaned his campaign $10,803.60. Sternad reported paying $24 in maintenance fees to TD Bank and spending $3.60 on postage and $58.50 on telephone fees. He also paid the Florida Department of State $10,440 in qualifying fees. [Q2 FEC filing, 7/17/12]

Q1 2012: Reported $5 in Contributions. In his 2012 Q1 report, Sternad reported raising $5 and spending $0.20. He reported having $29.80 cash on hand and $25 in debt at the end of the filing period from a personal loan. The $5 contribution was earmarked through ActBlue from a donor in Massachusetts. [Q1 FEC Filing, 4/17/12]

Q4 2011: Reported $500 In-Kind Contribution. In his 2011 year end FEC report, Sternad reported $500 in in-kind contributions and a $50 personal loan made on December 2. Sternad reported no spending. The $500 in-kind contribution was for web development and hosting. Sternad repaid his loan on December 17.  Sternad had no cash on hand and no debt at the end of the filing period. [Year-End FEC Filing, 1/25/12]

Sternad Reported Little Personal Income           

Sternad and Wife Reported Earning less than $30,000 in 2011. The Miami Herald reported, “Married to a wife with no income, Sternad earned less than $30,000 working for two South Beach hotels last year, according to his financial disclosures. As of July, when his sole employer was the Wyndham Garden South Beach, he earned $14,490.” The Herald later reported, “Sternad’s wife is unemployed, they have small investments and they’re supporting five kids, according to his campaign records.”  [Miami Herald, 8/15/128/21/12; Sternad Personal Financial Disclosure, filed 7/06/12;

Breaking Federal Election Law Can Carry Up to Five Years in Prison. “A candidate or conspirator who knowingly and willfully ‘falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact’ in a federal election can face up to five years in prison, according to federal law. Federal investigators specifically consider ‘surreptitious means, such as cash, conduits, or false documentation, to conceal’ a contribution or expenditure a crime, according to a guidebook published by the Federal Elections Commission.” [Miami Herald, 8/21/12]

 

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