Embattled U.S. Rep. David Rivera has at least two campaign ads running on television in Miami, one positive and in Spanish and one negative and in English.
The positive ad features Daniela Peláez, the North Miami Senior High School valedictorian who faced deportation to Colombia because her parents had brought her to the U.S. illegally as a child. She got a reprieve in part thanks to congressional intervention and has become a fixture at Rivera events, including one last week where he held an immigration workshop at his Miami district office.
Update: Here's the video of the ad, titled El Sueño Americano (The American Dream).
Here's our translation:
I'm Daniela Peláez. When I faced the threat of deportation, I went to see my congressman, David Rivera. He never asked if I was Republican or Democrat. David Rivera put all of his resources at my disposal. Like me, David Rivera has been fighting to help undocumented youth to achieve the American Dream. David Rivera has always backed us. Now it's our turn to back him.
Peláez is one of South Florida's so-called DREAMers, who would be granted legal permission to remain in the country under the DREAM Act, legislation that has stalled in Congress. It was supported by Rivera's fellow Cuban-Americans currently and recently in the U.S. House: Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
Rivera, however, has never backed the DREAM Act and criticized the Obama administration's recent decision to allow young people brought into the country illegally as children to temporarily remain in the country legally. Instead, he has suggested modified versions of the legislation, one for students graduating from high school and planning to attend a four-year college and another one for young people serving in the military.
The negative ad features an unidentified man and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who campaigned for Garcia when he ran for Congress in 2010 against Rivera and in 2008 against Mario Diaz-Balart. The ad makes several inaccurate claims.
Here's the script:
This is what political corruption looks like: Joe Garcia. As a utility regulator, Garcia raised our electric bills, then lobbied for the energy companies. Garcia promised us to create jobs, but funnels millions of taxpayer dollars to political cronies while sending American jobs to China. "He lied to us." Today, Garcia is under investigation for breaking the law. And who's behind Garcia? Nancy Pelosi. "I'm here for Joe Garcia." Garcia and Pelosi? Say no to Joe.
Rivera used the "Garcia raised our electric bills" attack two years ago. Politifact Florida called it False -- though when Gloria Romero Roses, a Garcia primary opponent this year, made a similar claim based on additional Garcia votes, Politifact called it Half True.
El Nuevo Herald recently found the other claims made by Rivera were inaccurate (the article is available here, in Spanish).
Rivera has claimed Garcia, while at the office of minority economic impact and diversity at the U.S. Department of Energy, steered a stimulus contract to a Puerto Rico-based firm, CSA, that Garcia later worked for once he returned to the private sector. The energy department, however, told El Nuevo Herald that Garcia's office was never involved in contracts with CSA. In any case, the stimulus funds were awarded to the government of Puerto Rico -- not directly to CSA -- in April 2009, several months before Garcia joined the energy department.
And while Rivera has claimed that Garcia is under investigation by the Federal Election Commission, the FEC told El Nuevo Herald that no such investigation exists. Though he continues to deny it, Rivera is under federal investigation into his personal and campaign finances. He faces a second, grand-jury probe into whether he illegally steered secret money to a Garcia primary rival.
Garcia, for his part, has been on TV with two positive ads in English -- one aimed at Miami-Dade and one aimed at the Keys. He also has a Spanish-language ad airing on WSUA-AM (1260), known as Radio Caracol, which caters to Colombians. That spot features an endorsement from Eduardo Arango, a former senator in Colombia.