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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sources: Rivera aide subpoenaed in criminal probe



UPDATE: Garcia says in an e-mail after item was posted that the report is "false."

Congressman David Rivera’s longtime aide, Alina Garcia, was subpoenaed in a criminal investigation tied to the lawmaker’s financial relationship with a dog track, two sources familiar with the subpoena tell the Miami Herald and the Times/Herald. The subpoena in question is not a clear sign of criminal wrongdoing on anyone’s part, but it’s another sign that Florida and Miami-Dade investigators aren’t merely making telephone calls.

Rivera won’t respond to inquires about the investigation, which is now causing him trouble in Washington political circles, according to Politico.

One interpretation: Garcia would be the most likely to cooperate with investigators in light of the fact that they’re probing a company founded by her daughter, Alyn Cruz Higgins. The company, ACH Fundraising Strategies received $75,000 from Rivera’s defunct state Senate campaign, which he abandoned after launching his congressional bid.

What did ACH do for all that money? It said "thank you." Literally.

The money was for a “thank you campaign,” a permitted expenditure for a candidate to make after his campaign is over. And it wasn’t the only time Rivera said thanks with so much cash.

He was the most thankful lawmaker in the Legislature from 2004 to 2010, when he spent almost $243,000 in campaign donations on "thank you" expenses -- accounting for almost one-quarter of all the thank-you money spent in Florida during that period, a Miami Herald analysis of state campaign data found. (Full story is here)

Marc Caputo, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau


[Last modified: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 12:48pm]


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