To briefly recap, Rivera is at the center of a variety of controversies, but the more pressing allegation is that he hired Justin Lamar Sternad to run in a primary campaign against his opponent, and illegally financed the guy's primary campaign through a series of secret and unreported cash contributions.
The Republican congressman says he doesn't know Justin Lamar Sternad, but it appears Justin Lamar Sternad certainly knows him.
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."
On Monday, I said the Rivera scandal reads like a Carl Hiaasen novel, but upon further reflection, that's probably not fair -- I've read a lot of Hiaasen novels, and they're usually more plausible than Rivera's real-world antics.
I mean, really. Once a politician picks up "The Gangster" as a nickname, maybe it's time to consider a career outside of Congress.
By the way, why did Sternad, whose personal annual income is about $30,000 a year, and who somehow managed to spend $43,000 in unreported cash on direct mail, go along with Rivera's scheme? In other words, why bother running for Congress for no reason? Because in this case, Ana Sol Alliegro, the intermediary, said Rivera "would get him a better job to support his wife and five kids if he lost."
If by "better job," Rivera meant "getting indicted in a criminal conspiracy," the congressman is keeping his promise.
In the meantime, where is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)? It was Cantor, after all, who vowed a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to misdeeds from congressional Republicans. Can the Majority Leader explain why Rivera remains a member in good standing of the House GOP caucus and enjoys his party's support for re-election?