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A closer look at fundraising in the David Rivera-Luis Garcia race

Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, continued to post lackluster fundraising numbers in his bid for re-election, according to reports filed this weekend with the Federal Election Commission.

Rivera was outraised nearly four to one by state Rep. Luis Garcia, a Democrat and former Miami Beach city commissioner and fire chief. Garcia raised $103,545 in his challenge to Rivera, who’s had a difficult time raising money thanks mostly to state and federal criminal probes of his personal and campaign finances. 

Garcia got a boost from U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who headlined a fundraiser for him in September and whose political action committee contributed $5,000. Among Garcia’s other contributors: $4,000 from the campaign of former House speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and another $3,000 from her political action committee. He also got $5,000 from a PAC led by Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich. Garcia has $77,126 in the bank.

Rivera raised just $26,500 over the past three months -– admittedly part of the slow summer fundraising quarter, but a poor showing for the once prolific money raiser. Last quarter, the Miami Republican took in $33,500 and spent $40,584.82. And in the quarter immediately after his election, Rivera raised $75,134. Since winning the seat, he has raised $146,659 and spent $139,572.

Rivera’s donations this quarter came from just 14 people, including Tallahassee lobbyist Brian Ballard. He also got donations from two political action committees: $2,500 from the Orlando law firm Akerman, Senterfitt and Eidson; and $1,000 from the plumber’s and pipefitter’s union, the United Association.

Rivera has $68,399 cash on hand, but his campaign remains deeply indebted.

Rivera owes $148,000 to campaign vendors, including $29,859 to the fundraising consulting firm Capital Strategies DC of Alexandria, Va.; $89,221 for media expenses to The Victory Group of Baltimore, Md.; $10,000 for media consulting to The Factor Inc. of Miami; and $19,000 in fundraising expenses to GF Strategies of Washington D.C.

Rivera paid Patton Boggs $8,012 in legal fees and another $9,000 to the accounting firm Robert Watkins and Co. of Tampa, according to FEC reports.

In September, the Federal Election Commission asked Rivera 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 an 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’s campaign said in a letter to the FEC that the additional reported debt was from a new invoice from the last election.

"In the interest of better public disclosure, the committee amended this report to reflect the debt in addition to including the debt on the report covering the period in which the invoice was actually received," his treasurer noted.