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FEC asks Rep. David Rivera to explain campaign debt

The Federal Election Commission has asked Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, to elaborate on why there's new debt on his most recent campaign finance reports.

An amended report filed in July from the second quarter of the year "discloses a substantial increase in the amount of debts from those disclosed on your original report," the FEC noted in a Aug. 9 letter to his campaign. "Please amend your report or provide an explanation to clarify why this additional activity was not provided with your original report."

Rivera, a once-prolific fundraiser, has had a difficult time raising money since he's been under investigation for his relationship with a dog track. Fundraising reports released in July show the Miami Republican took in just $33,500 and spent $40,584.82.

He spent $10,000 -- about a third of the money raised -– on fundraising consulting for Capital Strategies and GF Strategies. He also paid $6,038.13 to the Washington law firm of Patton Boggs. The report shows his committee's debts and obligations total $151,580.58, including nearly $90,000 for media expenses through the Victory Group, and more than $46,000 for fundraising consulting to Capital Strategies and GF Strategies.

The FEC has asked Rivera to provide an explanation for the debt discrepency by Sept. 13. "Requests for extensions of time in which to respond will not be considered," the agency noted.

Rivera, asked Thursday about the FEC inquiry, brushed off questions while at a book party for  Armando Valladares, a former ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

"You'll have to ask Nancy," Rivera said, referring to his campaign treasurer, Nancy Watkins. "They didn't send it (the letter) to me. They sent it to Nancy."