Nothing quite like Senate District 38. File a complaint against a candidate, and the next thing you know you’ll be accused of being in league with Fidel Castro and his band of spies. And then someone's mom gets dragged into it. And then each side suggests the other is committing forgeries.
So it goes with the race between Miami Republican Reps David Rivera and Anitere Flores.
Let's start with today: Peter Behringer, a Jacksonville citizen, said he’ll file a House rules complaint against Rivera for allegedly holding a Dec. 3 fundraiser despite a prohibition against soliciting campaign cash during a special lawmaking session. Behringer claims Rivera then lied about it in this story.
Rivera denies wrongdoing. He said the event was changed from a fundraiser to a “Meet & Greet” after the session started, and that no money changed hands. He said photos of fundraising envelopes appearing to hail from the "Meet & Greet" are forgeries.
Also, his opponent Flores has issues of her own.
A day after the regular session began March 3, her mom sent a fundraising email. A copy floating around the Internet (parallel to the Rivera envelope pic) has an incriminating line: “***Please date the check 2/27 as that was the day of her announcement, the email says. Download Flores Campaign ViolationFlores said that's a forgery, too. But she does acknowledge her mom had mistakenly sent out a fundraising email ("not from the campaign, it was a personal email"). And her mom corrected it. No one has the original emails. Either way, two checks were received on the backdate day in question.
Said Rivera: “I guess those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
"Someone is attacking my mother for politics," Flores said. She said she's contacting Yahoo to find the original emails. And she notes that political attack man David R. Custin was listed as an author of one of the PDF versions of the "forgery." Custin said the term "author" is the software lingo for the fact that he simply had printed the email to a PDF, he didn't doctor or forge anything and he'll go under oath. He acknowledged he sent it to Rivera months ago "because he has a right to know she broke the rules."Custin and Rivera used to despise each other. Custin, political consultant for Sen. Alex Villalobos, worked for Rep. Marcelo Llorente before he dropped out of the race.
But Rivera's under more immediate scrutiny. Behringer said his complaint** should be received soon by House Speaker Larry Cretul.
“I’m a citizen who got ticked off at a politician for breaking the rules,” Behringer said. “Who are other politicians who tick you off? “I’ve made my statement,” he said. Any connection to Rivera’s opponent, Rep. Anitere Flores? No, he said before politely terminating the phone call.
Rivera isn’t blaming Flores. He suspects his problems are further south.
"Whatever pro-Castro sympathizers are behind this believe they can intimidate me or stop me from passing more anti-Castro legislation. They are dead wrong,” Rivera said in a written statement. An anti-Castro theme underpinned the event in question hosted by Ana Margarita Martinez, who sued the Castro government over her marriage to a Cuban spy.
"The fact that all of this is related to an event hosted by Ana Margarita Martinez, one of the Castro regime's biggest public enemies, and one of my biggest supporters, is no coincidence," Rivera said.
As for Martinez’s statements in the press acknowledging that she solicited contributions on Rivera’s behalf, she said there was a miscommunication and she wants to set the record straight*** that she didn’t do it. As for a picture showing a Rivera envelope at the fundraiser, Rivera said it’s either a forgery or a picture of an envelope from another event.
Another crafty Castro trick?
-- Marc Caputo