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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rivera fundraiser delaying budget talks?




[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

Miami Republican Rep. David Rivera said this morning that the House and Senate would wrap up budget talks this evening at a special 11 pm meeting. Why so late? At first, it would seem that the hyper-technical issues in the budget are to blame.

But there might be another reason: Cash.

Rivera, running for Congress, had a fundraiser scheduled in Washington tonight from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Capitol Hill Club, according to the website politicalpartytime. Democrats pounced on the fundraiser web-posting as "proof" of Rivera's priorities. Whether he went or not isn't clear. Rivera hasn't returned calls all day re: the fundraiser. A lobbyist friend of his insisted he cancelled the fundraiser, but then acknowledged she didn't know what she was talking about. Another lobbyist said Rivera flew out.

Legislators are banned from fundraising during session -- unless they're running for federal office. Rivera hasn't missed a check, raking in more than $660,000 from Feb. 25 to March 31, with $51,000 coming from people with Tallahassee addresses -- representing just a sliver of the special interests who want a piece of the $69 billion budget pie that Rivera is helping to bake.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:31am]


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