Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 29, 2011

STILL WAITING FOR THAT 'ZERO TOLERANCE' POLICY TO KICK IN.... The 112th Congress is just getting underway, but the race to find the most corrupt lawmaker on Capitol Hill appears to have a clear frontrunner. The Associated Press has uncovered new evidence of more alleged wrongdoing on the part of Miami-area Republican David Rivera.

Freshman U.S. Rep. David Rivera, who is facing a state criminal investigation of his finances, paid himself more than $60,000 in unexplained campaign reimbursements over the eight years he served in the state legislature, an Associated Press examination of his records shows.

Serving as his own campaign treasurer, the Miami Republican didn't report any details for more than a third of the roughly $160,000 in expenses for which he reimbursed himself, other than simply calling them campaign expenses, according to the records.

The AP review also shows his total reimbursements far exceeded those claimed by 12 other top Florida state legislators who served with him. Those lawmakers — both Democrats and Republicans — usually gave at least some explanation of how the money had been spent, as required by Florida law. Rivera denies wrongdoing.

Of course he does. But the details look really bad for Rivera here, and perhaps more importantly, it's part of a series of head-shaking outrages surrounding the scandal-plagued lawmaker.

The most recent scandal, before this latest one, is Rivera's inexplicable decision to try to cover up loans from his mother's gambling-related marketing company, a matter that's already under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Indeed, it appears that the owners of a dog track made more than $500,000 in secret payments to a company Rivera owned.

The Republican congressman is also at the center of domestic violence allegations, has been accused of driving a truck off a road because it was carrying flyers from a rival campaign, hiding the finances surrounding foreclosure proceedings on a house he co-owned with Marco Rubio, and bizarre lies about nonexistent work he did for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

And in case that wasn't quite enough, the criminal investigation into Rivera's activities appears to be "expanding on multiple fronts," and may yet include additional felonies we haven't yet heard about.

What do Rivera's Republican friends in Washington have to say about all of this? Very little. House Speaker John Boehner said this week that the suspected crimes "took place before he was elected," which to his mind, explains why the party and the House leadership haven't taken any action.

Just a few months ago, shortly before the midterm elections, Eric Cantor (R-Va.) assured the public that a House Republican majority would "institute a zero-tolerance policy" when it comes to lawmakers and ethical/legal transgressions.

I guess we missed the fine print?

Steve Benen 10:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (11)

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That would be zero tolerance for those with "D" after their name. Always look for the fine print or footnotes.

Posted by: Tigershark on January 29, 2011 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

What Cantor meant is that they will continue the Republican tradition of having zero tolerance for investigations into members of their own party.

Posted by: rip on January 29, 2011 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

'...that the suspected crimes "took place before he was elected..."'
And what, none of those ill-gotten gains were used in his election campaign?
Never mind, he's from FL, and look what, uhm, who, they elected Governor.
Oh, and he's a Republican.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on January 29, 2011 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Oh,oh, oh, I found the fine print with my huge magnifying glass: "Except in circumstances where the allegations are for events that took place either prior to or after election."

Posted by: BC on January 29, 2011 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, when Boehner says "took place before he was elected" it pretty much says that Rivera is walking dead and will probably be out soon. Boehner does not need to protect or push him. Besides, Rivera is only a first term rep and they will probably get another Republican to fill the seat.

Posted by: CarlP on January 29, 2011 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

...that the suspected crimes "took place before he was elected...

Today's Quiz Question: What differentiates humans from the lower species of life on this planet?

- It is not opposable thumbs
- It is not the ability to think

Answer: It is the ability to rationalize. Humans are the only species that can do and say irrational things and then provide rationalization for what they have said or done.

Posted by: SadOldVet on January 29, 2011 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

No, no, Officer, I merely found the drugs and was on my way to the police station to turn them in at the time of my arrest...

Cheech and Chong would have a field day with these cretins...

Posted by: stevio on January 29, 2011 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Your tax dollars put to work by the republican Florida mafia.

Posted by: CDW on January 29, 2011 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

At least now we know which member of the 2010 GOP class will be the first to fall to scandal. (Whether they'll have the same talent for self-destruction that the 1994 GOP class had remains to be seen, but the potential is certainly there.)

At this rate, I wonder if Rivera even makes it to summer.

Posted by: gf120581 on January 29, 2011 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

I believe the Republicans based their zero-tolerance policy for corruption on Fox News' zero-tolerance policy for factual errors.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on January 29, 2011 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Rivera and Delay should be cell mates so they could comapare notes and hone their corruptive skills. What is the latest on O'Donnell and her use of election funds for rent and other unauthorized living expenses?

Posted by: Ted76 on January 29, 2011 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK



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