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Pining for David Rivera

From Miami Herald columnist Fred Grimm:

I miss David. He was always there for me.

Before the voters in Miami’s 26th Congressional District dumped David Rivera, he was Mr. Dependable for a columnist, an unending source of material with his financial chicanery and phantom companies and his convoluted explanations. His life was like performance theater, living satire of a political contribution system gone amok.

Rivera, starting back when he was a state legislator, had styled himself as the perpetual candidate. “Essentially, the subject’s position is that he was for a period of almost a decade, continuously and simultaneously engaging in official business, campaigning for public office, as well as campaigning for committeeman; moving from one task to another seamlessly on a daily basis,” the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office reported.

A perpetual candidate, of course, needs perpetual access to his campaign accounts. Rivera’s ethos assumed, the report said, that “virtually every travel-related expenditure: airfare, automobile costs, lodging, meals and related miscellaneous expenses for personal items and entertainment were indeed permissible campaign-related expenditures.”

Rivera even rationalized his girlfriend’s travel costs as a legitimate campaign expense, because, well, a bachelor politician in South Florida must be mindful of appearances. He had other problems, of course. A shell company set up to disguise his work for a racino. And his bizarre meddling in the Democratic primary. An FBI investigation. All of it, great stuff for me.

Unhappily, Rivera’s entertainment value failed to translate into votes. He lost by 11 percentage points in November. He’s out of a job. Worse, I’m out of David.

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