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No charges to be filed against Rep. David Rivera

U.S. Rep. David Rivera will not face criminal charges following an 18-month investigation of his personal and campaign finances by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, according to the Miami Herald.

Though records released late Monday show FDLE last year suspected Rivera of "possible criminal and ethical violations," ranging from campaign fraud to falsifying financial disclosure forms, prosecutors have concluded that they cannot charge the Miami congressman with any crimes because of ambiguities in the state's campaign finance laws and a shortened statute of limitations that barred prosecution for expenses more than two years old.

Prosecutors also concluded that Rivera did not break any laws by raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in secret donations to a campaign for an obscure post within the state Republican Party. The state attorney's office is expected to issue a memo formally closing the investigation in coming days.

Ed Griffith, a spokesman for Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, declined to comment on the status of the case. FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger confirmed that the agency has concluded its investigation.

Rivera's campaign said in a statement that he "at all times acted in compliance with both the letter and spirit of Florida and federal campaign finance laws and has timely and properly reported all personal income." It later added that FDLE was provided with information refuting "all of their false and unfounded allegations against Congressman Rivera."

"In essence, FDLE launched a fishing expedition that became a wild goose chase and which has now proven to be a discredited, unwarranted and politically-motivated witch-hunt resulting in Congressman Rivera's exoneration," the statement said. "FDLE's unprofessional waste of taxpayer dollars in this matter is shameful."

The end of the investigation would lift a cloud that has hung over the first-term congressman since he was elected to the U.S. House in 2010 after serving eight years in the Florida Legislature. Rivera has struggled to raise money for his re-election campaign next November.

But Rivera is not entirely in the clear: He still remains under investigation by the FBI and the IRS over a $510,000 payment from a dog track to a company managed by Rivera's mother and godmother.

No charges to be filed against Rep. David Rivera 04/17/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 7:58pm]
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