Two years after the Florida Commission on Ethics recommended $58,000 in fines and restitution assessed to former Florida Republican lawmaker and former congressman David Rivera, the Florida House of Representatives still hasn’t taken the matter up. The recommendations were transmitted to the House in April 2015, but then-Speaker Steve Crisafulli told the media he wanted to give Rivera a chance to appeal the decision before taking action.
The commission said Rivera did not properly disclose his income and he bilked taxpayers by improperly reimbursing travel expenses. Rivera has always maintained he did nothing wrong in this case.
The issue has gained new relevance now that Rivera is officially in the fight for the soon-to-be vacated Florida House District 105 seat, currently held by Carlos Trujillo (R-Miami).
With House Speaker Richard Corcoran firmly positioning himself as a no-nonsense leader, taking up the matter of Rivera’s ethics issues should be low hanging fruit – an easy way to score points and take a fellow Republican to the proverbial woodshed.
It remains unclear what, if anything, Corcoran plans to do about it. Over the past two days, Corcoran declined several requests for a comment on the matter. So for now, at least, the ethics case against Rivera remains mothballed on the Speaker’s desk.
Rivera is a formidable political figure, who has won a lot more elections than he’s lost, and his most recent defeat was about as close as an election can get. But this is Rivera’s tenth filing to run for office, making him an undisputed career politician.
After his most recent filing in late March 2017, Rivera told the Miami Herald would run for House District 105 because “I was asked to run by many constituents.”
David Rivera Political Timeline
- 2002: Rivera runs for and is elected to the Florida House of Representatives District 112.
- 2004: Rivera runs for re-election unopposed and keeps his seat in the Florida House of Representatives District 112.
- 2006: Rivera runs for re-election unopposed and keeps his seat in the Florida House of Representatives District 112.
- 2008: Rivera runs for re-election unopposed and keeps his seat in the Florida House of Representatives District 112.
- 2009: Rivera files to run for the Florida senate seat being vacated by J. Alex Villalobos. He ends up pulling out from this race.
- 2010: Rivera sees an opening for Florida’s 25th congressional district. Rivera files to run for U.S Congress and is elected to Florida’s 25th congressional district seat.
- 2012: By 2012, redistricting changes Rivera’s congressional district from 25th to 26th. Rivera loses his re-election and congressional seat.
- 2014: Rivera announces he’ll run again for Florida’s 26th congressional district. He ends up pulling out from this race.
- April 2015: Florida Commission on Ethics recommends $58,000 in fines and restitution against Rivera.
- April 2015: Then-Speaker Steve Crisafulli says he won’t take action until Rivera has had the opportunity to appeal the ruling.
- May 2015 – August 2016: River waits 15 months, but ultimately decides not to appeal to the Ethics Commission.
- March 2016: Rivera files to run for Florida House District 118
- September 2016: In the heat of election season, Rivera appeals his ethics case to the Florida Supreme Court.
- November 2016: Rivera narrowly loses the race for Florida House of Representatives District 118.
- December 2016: Florida Supreme Court rejects Rivera’s ethics appeal on the grounds that the Legislature has yet to act on the matter.
- March 2017: Rivera files to run for the Florida House of Representatives District 105.
- April 2017: House Speaker Richard Corcoran refuses to discuss if he will pursue the case recommended by the State Commission on Ethics.