Skip to main content

BREAKING UPDATE (11:00 p.m. EST): FBI, Miami-Dade police target Democratic primary candidate with possible ties to Congressman David Rivera

Federal agents are investigating the finances of a little known candidate and potential connections to U.S. Rep. David Rivera.

 The FBI and Miami-Dade police have opened separate criminal investigations into the campaign of a Democratic congressional candidate who, vendors say, was aided by GOP Rep. David Rivera.

Federal agents gathered campaign records, invoices and began interviewing employees at two mail and data companies used by Democrat Justin Lamar Sternad’s primary campaign. Sternad spent about $43,000 in unreported cash and checks on mail services, a witness told The Herald and authorities. Some of the money was stuffed in envelopes bulging with $100 bills.

Federal law required Sternad to quickly report any contributions — including loans —just before the Aug. 14 primary, which he lost to Democrat Joe Garcia, a longtime Rivera rival who Sternad bashed in one of his 11 mailers.

Rivera, investigators suspect, was behind the sophisticated mail campaign run by Sternad, who was an unknown political newcomer and hotel night auditor.

As I noted earlier today, Rivera is in deep trouble this time.


Today's Miami Herald is reporting that, according to a number of vendors involved in the effort, Florida Republican congressman David Rivera secretly funded a primary challenge against his "political nemesis," Democrat Joe Garcia who is challenging Rivera for the seat. If true, this is a serious violation of federal law that is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Fueled with $43,000 in secret money, Republican Rep. David Rivera helped run a shadow campaign that might have broken federal laws in last week’s Democratic primary against his political nemesis Joe Garcia, according to campaign sources and finance records.

As part of the effort, a political unknown named Justin Lamar Sternad campaigned against Garcia by running a sophisticated mail campaign that Rivera helped orchestrate and fund, campaign vendors said.

Among the revelations: The mailers were often paid in envelopes stuffed with crisp hundred-dollar bills.

And, no, Sternad didn't seem to have the resources to be a self-funding candidate, according to the Herald:
Sternad’s wife is unemployed, they have small investments and they’re supporting five kids, according to his campaign records.

Sternad, who earned $30,000 as a hotel worker last year, loaned himself nearly $11,000 for his campaign. All but $822 was spent on the state fee to qualify for office. The remainder was spent for signage, bank fees or his cell phone bill.

Sternad — the treasurer for his own campaign — never filed a report showing he loaned himself any additional money. So it’s unclear where the nearly $43,000 for the mailers came from.

Rivera, a close ally of Marco Rubio, denies any involvement in the campaign, though his denials look like they won't hold up:
Interviews with campaign sources, invoices, campaign records and other documents show that Rivera personally and frequently called Rapid Mail about Sternad’s mailers. During one call, Rivera directed an employee to walk outside, check the office mailbox for an envelope containing payment for one mailer., the sources said.

The envelope was stuffed with cash — $7,800.

Last week, Borrero told The Herald that the Sternad campaign had paid cash for six of the cash mailers, which cost between $4,000 and $6,000 each. He said he was surprised by the amount of cash, which he sometimes may see from private clients and not usually campaigns.

It appears that there is a good chance that Rep. Rivera may be in some very serious trouble. Not sure if this seat was viewed as a potential Dem pick-up (I'm not from Florida so I'm not familiar with the district), but it may be a certainty if this story plays out based on the facts presented in today's Herald.

The Republican Party in Florida has a long and storied history of corruption, and Rivera looks like he may soon be spending some time in the big house.

7:16 AM PT: Rivera is already under scrutiny by the feds (FBI and IRS) for possibly funneling campaign funds through a third party company for his personal use. Read more here.

Originally posted to Bob Johnson on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 05:34 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Florida.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

grytpype, GainesT1958, Alumbrados, Ed in Montana, Angie in WA State, Sylv, DeminNewJ, Alma, TXdem, jec, RF, PrahaPartizan, Sean Robertson, Mogolori, Chi, itsbenj, Odysseus, MadRuth, grollen, teacherken, askew, glitterscale, irmaly, abarefootboy, Joan McCarter, JeffLieber, PeterHug, RunawayRose, greenbird, bosdcla14, Emerson, TheGreatLeapForward, Shockwave, wu ming, Heimyankel, Sherri in TX, CleverNickName, cotterperson, SanJoseLady, LuvSet, hyperstation, mslat27, eeff, janefordean, TX Unmuzzled, polecat, Sandy on Signal, Richard Cranium, recentdemocrat, Woody, SallyCat, wenchacha, Just Saying, Poika, bookbear, dweb8231, regis, themis, Christian Dem in NC, raines, bronte17, Zinman, missLotus, susans, sponson, kalihikane, whenwego, Janie, ScantronPresident, djMikulec, jerseyjoew, sharman, ask, Kevvboy, CoolOnion, highacidity, stevej, themank, Bionic, bowtiejack, mkfarkus, mrblifil, otto, chimpy, khloemi, vmckimmey, itskevin, Bill Roberts, Iberian, griz4u, Cedwyn, hopeful, CoConut, Quege, Texknight, RLF, kharma, ninothemindboggler, edrie, Mxwll, psnyder, TexDem, Dallasdoc, American Zapatista, pat bunny, Lawrence, hoolia, texasmom, HeyMikey, Jujuree, Penny Century, Steven Payne, defluxion10, betson08, riverlover, BlogDog, walkshills, outragedinSF, Matt Esler, zerelda, mungley, lonespark, KayCeSF, Marianne Benz, vacantlook, Jen Hayden, eztempo, Marc in KS, Sassy, sebastianguy99, Limelite, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, davidincleveland, Los Diablo, lcs, Bluesee, ZZZzzz, 3goldens, Tinfoil Hat, DianeNYS, Ckntfld, Unit Zero, wmc418, revbludge, subtropolis, newfie, Lying eyes, Chinton, ZappoDave, kefauver, dewtx, ChemBob, juliesie, Brooke In Seattle, reflectionsv37, fixxit, eru, lennysfo, Sun Tzu, pasadena beggar, uato carabau, GreyHawk, Kayakbiker, quaoar, wmspringer, skyounkin, Ice Blue, most peculiar mama, blue jersey mom, Steve in Urbana, Ozymandius, jane123, sunbro, Carnivorous Plantling, Sandino, Rock Strongo, SBandini, Savvy813, FindingMyVoice, sodalis, Ekaterin, sgary, mrchips46, Alan Arizona, xaxnar, begone, reddbierd, SSMir, Nowhere Man, third Party please, Sanuk, hlee1169, BachFan, chicagoblueohio, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, myboo, vigilant meerkat, my pet rock, Mr Bojangles, edwardssl, BlueInARedState, profundo, tonyahky, mr crabby, Gorette, Yellow Canary, seefleur, kestrel9000, technomage, mskitty, Patriot4peace, sleipner, deha, Shakludanto, zesty grapher, Son of a Cat, claudette, raincrow, luckydog, blueoasis, SherriG, MJ via Chicago, global citizen, wild hair, StrayCat, philipmerrill, twigg, gpoutney, Rosaura, funluvn1, Libby Shaw, Crashing Vor, SadieSue, real world chick, el cid, middleagedhousewife, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, BB10, Texdude50, kurt, MadMs, nannyboz, shaharazade, Statusquomustgo, PhilW, kurious, bstotts, RickBoston, AllanTBG, Nulwee, cpresley, DBunn, GoldnI, Thinking Fella, The Knute, tegrat, ammasdarling, Tamar, One Pissed Off Liberal, Sapere aude, Noor B, asilomar, donnamarie, rchipevans, Loudoun County Dem, byDesign, tgypsy, camlbacker, Deadicated Marxist, weneedahero, devis1, rccats3, ColoTim, gloriana, aravir, yoduuuh do or do not, edsbrooklyn, FishOutofWater, terabytes, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, dclawyer06, Uwaine, davehouck, bnasley, HCKAD, jayden, US Blues, jedennis, Singing Lizard, SeaTurtle, jnhobbs, gchaucer2, carpunder, pioneer111, uciguy30, GeorgeXVIII, leonard145b, skod, M Sullivan, BasharH, TomP, Empower Ink, fb, Mighty Ike, JDWolverton, 123man, MKinTN, revm3up, mconvente, TruthFreedomKindness, Scioto, TX Freethinker, weegeeone, HappyinNM, wayoutinthestix, califdem, OleHippieChick, Sixty Something, Youffraita, Senor Unoball, Tchrldy, bythesea, elwior, skohayes, Laughing Vergil, filby, lineatus, Sharon Wraight, Its any one guess, VL Baker, mikeconwell, Lujane, rssrai, tofumagoo, boatjones, Cassandra Waites, triplepoint, TokenLiberal, Jeff Y, catly, Tam in CA, envwq, mofembot, Gemina13, glendaw271, petulans, luckylizard, Nica24, dmhlt 66, toom, DavidW, GrannyOPhilly, shortgirl, lostboyjim, legendmn, LaFeminista, 207wickedgood, MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel, maggiejean, Sun dog, Rhysling, J M F, Glacial Erratic, greengemini, juca, Carol in San Antonio, be the change you seek, Nebraskablue, Norm in Chicago, notrouble, BlueInRedCincy, shopkeeper, EquationDoc, DefendOurConstitution, Obama Amabo, manucpa, elziax, CaliSista, marzook, papahaha, COwoman, kevinpdx, Shelley99, KenInCO, stevenwag, sfarkash, jfromga, Larsstephens, Lefty Ladig, ruscle, Railfan, MT in Austin, Amber6541, Just Bob, commonmass, parse this, coppercelt, confitesprit, OrangeMike, marabout40, KroneckerD, p gorden lippy, TFinSF, roadbear, Captain Marty, Vacationland, The Jester, NJpeach, Tea and Strumpets, blueyescryinintherain, leftywright, secret38b, michelewln, fidellio, Anima, Crabby Abbey, LOrion, appledown, Eddie L, cordgrass, pixxer, ItsSimpleSimon, DerAmi, cai, Jaimas, rja, Betty Pinson, roystah, elengul, MsGrin, ericlewis0, Floande, eclecta, cocinero, wwjjd, Actbriniel, slice, JClarkPDX, Onomastic, annieli, Mike08, Maximilien Robespierre, Jasel, kerflooey, MidwestTreeHugger, Hill Jill, Catherine R, nervousnellie, bgblcklab1, slowbutsure, vahana, cv lurking gf, freesia, anyname, La Gitane, OldGrammy, BlueJessamine, Susipsych, ardyess, fishboots, UtahLibrul, Nicci August, CoExistNow, trumpeter, marleycat, PorridgeGun, zukesgirl64, Cinnamon Rollover, Jasonhouse, thomask, BarackStarObama, KVoimakas, blw, floridablue, 1718bill, merrily1000, MRA NY, enhydra lutris, antimony, Calvino Partigiani, bluedust, MinistryOfTruth, Wood Dragon, Caddis Fly, Andrew F Cockburn, FisherOfRolando, teknohed, Vatexia, Hayate Yagami, blue aardvark, jolux, stlsophos, DRo, googie, Mentatmark, ParkRanger, No one gets out alive, YaNevaNo, quill, absdoggy, Pinto Pony, stormicats, Liberal Granny, KiB, RhodaA, Heart n Mind, anodnhajo, StonyB, leathersmith, cwsmoke, angry marmot, TheLizardKing, Siri, IndieGuy, AnnieR, Joieau, a2nite, rukidingme, FloridaSNMOM, Trotskyrepublican, congenitalefty, jan4insight, belinda ridgewood, Arahahex, MartyM, sexgenderbody, wxorknot, tytalus, Vote4Obamain2012, arizonablue, Victim of Circumstance, Kinak, Glen The Plumber, Marjmar, Robynhood too, CalBearMom, Greatwyrm, Candide08, Sue B, BobTheHappyDinosaur, corpsechorus, ForestLake, DamselleFly, Panacea Paola, glorificus, SanFernandoValleyMom, Southcoast Luna, SheilaKinBrooklyn, leeleedee, paccoli, Icicle68, Mannie, Smoh, Laura Wnderer

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site