Appeals court okays ethics fine against former Rep. David Rivera
A Tallahassee appeals court on Wednesday upheld an ethics censure against former state Rep. David Rivera, a Miami Republican who is running again for the Florida House, now as a newly minted millionaire.
The First District Court of Appeal “summarily” rejected Rivera’s contention that the $57,821.96 fine recommended last year by an administrative law judge was improper due to “procedural errors” by the Florida Commission on Ethics.
“Rivera did not challenge the ethical violations found by the Commission and we find no merit in the due process claims he raised on appeal,” the court wrote.
However, the court left open the possibility for Rivera to sue again — if the House speaker ultimately imposes the fine.
One of Rivera’s arguments had been that it’s unconstitutional for the speaker to discipline a former House member. Florida law requires the speaker — not the ethics commission or administrative judge — to penalize a lawmaker found in violation of ethics rules. The court said it couldn’t rule on that question until if and when the speaker fines Rivera, because the disciplinary process won’t be “complete” until the speaker takes action.