June 24, 2016

David Rivera, millionaire? So says his latest financial disclosure

@PatriciaMazzei

In the three years since former U.S. Rep. David Rivera left Congress -- unceremoniously, after a single term and under the cloud of a federal criminal investigation -- he’s managed to significantly grow his personal wealth, even as what he does for a living has remained a mystery.

He’s worth more than $1.5 million, according to a financial disclosure form he filed this week to qualify as a candidate for the Florida House of Representatives. The last time he publicly declared his finances, in a 2012 congressional form that didn’t require a net-worth estimate, he listed just two assets -- neither of which suggested he had the makings of a millionaire.

Most of Rivera’s newfound wealth lies outside the U.S., in a pair of overseas bank accounts in Mexico and Taiwan each worth more than $300,000, his disclosure shows. He also owns three properties in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula worth $250,000, $100,000 and $50,000, respectively.

How Rivera acquired the money and the properties is unknown. He did not respond to questions a Miami Herald reporter emailed him Thursday afternoon.

For years, Rivera has claimed to be a business development consultant, an amorphous profession with unidentified clients. The only income source listed in his latest disclosure, for calendar year 2015, is $104,000. The money came from Xemma Holdings S.A. de C.V., a company in Merida, Mexico, “in partnership” with Interamerican Consulting, Rivera’s corporate entity registered at his Doral home.

More here.

Read Rivera's latest disclosure.

June 23, 2016

Trying to scare away Democratic rivals, Anitere Flores reveals more union support

@PatriciaMazzei

She's already scared away one serious Democratic rival. But just in case any others are thinking of qualifying to run by Friday's noon deadline, Miami Republican state Sen. Anitere Flores released more labor-union endorsements Thursday.

Flores received the backing of the Teamsters Local Union 769, the Dade County Association of Fire Fighters and the Laborers' International Union of North America (LiUNA) Construction and Craft Workers Local 1652.

Labor tends to support Democrats; Flores is trying to run as a moderate in a newly redrawn Southwest Miami-Dade County district that leans Democratic.

Democrat Andrew Korge decided earlier this week to switch races and no longer challenge Flores in District 39. An internal Flores poll showed her handily defeating him. Those numbers, like the union endorsements, appeared strategically publicized to pressure Korge -- and any other Democrats -- out of the race.

Miami state rep candidate draws complaint over campaign donation to Clinton

@PatriciaMazzei

Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich, a Democrat challenging Hialeah state Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., gave $100 from her election campaign account to Hillary Clinton for president.

That's a no-no. And in a year of contested political races up and down the ballot, Republicans quickly filed a complaint against Gonzalez Petkovich, who is acting as her own campaign treasurer.

It wasn't just any Republican who wrote her up to the Florida Elections Commission, either: The complaint came from Nelson Diaz, chairman of the Miami-Dade County Republican Party.

Diaz told the Miami Herald that Gonzalez Petkovich "needs to come clean with the voters of District 103. She needs to explain why she wants to be their lawmaker going forward when she can't even follow the laws on the books now."

But Gonzalez Petkovich's camp dismissed the complaint as "frivolous," saying the Clinton campaign refunded the donation. Gonzalez Petkovich then sent Clinton the $100 from her personal bank account, according to Anders Croy, deputy communications director for the Florida Democratic Party's House campaign.

"This frivolous complaint is nothing more than another attempt by the Trump Party of Florida to distract from Manny Diaz's record of delivering for the big special interests instead of the people of District 103," Croy said in a statement. "Ivette is proud to stand with Secretary Clinton's historic campaign because she also believes that our country is stronger together while Manny Diaz continues to support Donald Trump’s campaign of hateful and racist rhetoric that speaks to the worst of humanity."

Read the complaint.

Jeb Bush backs Marco Rubio for Senate. But Bush's ex-Miami-Dade campaign chief doesn't

@PatriciaMazzei

Hard feelings toward Marco Rubio remain from one of Jeb Bush's highest profile Miami supporters.

Jorge Arrizurieta, who chaired Bush's presidential campaign in Miami-Dade County, told a local radio station Thursday he won't vote for Rubio's re-election to the Senate -- even though Bush will.

"I don't think I'm the only one," Arrizurieta told hosts Roberto Rodríguez Tejera and Juan Camilo Gómez on the Spanish-language Actualidad Radio. "I feel incredibly disappointed."

Arrizurieta characterized Rubio as disloyal and ungrateful to Bush, his one-time political mentor, and said "no one will be able to convince me" that Bush's odds at winning the White House wouldn't have been greatly improved without Rubio in the presidential race. He said Bush's endorsements speaks to the former Florida governor's integrity.

Nevertheless, Arrizurieta opined Rubio has the best shot as winning the seat, given that he's the incumbent. He also said he doesn't plan on backing anyone else in the Senate contest, though he said Sarasota developer Carlos Beruff has been in touch.

A dejected-sounding Arrizurieta said he was "very saddened" by the Republican Party under presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump.

"The new political order that no one understands," he said.

June 22, 2016

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Carlos Curbelo back Marco Rubio

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio picks up the backing of two fellow Miami Republicans who areprobably relieved at the prospect of having Rubio on the November ballot:

Jeb Bush would back Marco Rubio if asked

via @learyreports

Jeb Bush memorably criticized Marco Rubio on the presidential campaign trail of abandoning his Senate duties to jump for higher office. But Bush harbors no hard feelings toward Rubio.

Asked by email this afternoon if he'd back Rubio's Senate campaign, Bush replied quickly.

"If he asks, I would be happy to back him."

 

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Andrew Korge switches Florida Senate races in Miami-Dade

@ByKristenMClark & @MaryEllenKlas

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In a major shake-up for two of Miami-Dade’s closely watched state Senate races, Democrat Andrew Korge is once again switching which public office he wants voters to elect him to in November.

Instead of challenging Republican state Sen. Anitere Flores in District 39, Korge will now run for the District 40 seat, he told the Herald/Times, confirming rumors that have swirled in South Florida political circles for the past couple weeks.

His decision sets up a three-way Democratic primary in District 40 against former state representative Ana Rivas Logan and current state Sen. Dwight Bullard and all-but-hands Flores her re-election unless Democrats can produce a viable replacement to challenge her with two days left in the qualifying period.

Korge planned to announce his decision Wednesday afternoon, when he filed his qualifying papers in Tallahassee. Candidates have until noon Friday to qualify and thereby secure their places on the August primary or November general election ballots.

“As a third-generation Miamian, it has long been a dream of mine to serve my community as a member of the Florida Senate, to create a better future for our children, to improve public schools and protect college students, and create high-wage jobs for hard-working, middle-class families,” Korge said in a statement. “District 40, where I grew up and spent half of my life, offers the best opportunity to do that.”

More here.

Annette Taddeo wins Miami-Dade teachers union endorsement

@PatriciaMazzei

Another labor union endorsed Miami Democrat Annette Taddeo for Congress on Wednesday, continuing her effort to coalesce establishment support in her primary contest against former Rep. Joe Garcia.

The United Teachers of Dade backed Taddeo over the ex-congressman, whom the teachers endorsed in 2014. In that race, Garcia ran against Republican Carlos Curbelo, who ultimately won that race. This time, Taddeo has the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee over Garcia.

"Educators in Florida need leaders that will stand strong for our public schools," UTD President Karla Hernandez-Mats said in a statement provided by Taddeo's campaign. "We're proud to stand with Annette, because we believe she will be that leader in Congress, and that she'll fight for the future of our children." 

Taddeo noted her 10-year-old daughter, Sofia, attends a Miami-Dade County public school.

"I know the importance of the role that educators play in our children's growth," she said in a statement.

Taddeo already counts on the support from key unions such as the AFL-CIO and SEIU. Garcia, however, led Taddeo in the latest internal polls made public last month.

June 21, 2016

Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo files new DREAM Act

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@PatriciaMazzei

Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo on Tuesday filed legislation that would allow people brought into the U.S. illegally as children before 2010 to remain in the country -- a new version of the so-called DREAM Act.

Under the proposed law, immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally before Jan. 1, 2010, and were 16 years old or younger, could follow a path to U.S. citizenship.

The "Recognizing American Children Act" would offer high school graduates without a serious criminal record or dependence on public assistance conditional immigration status for five years. During that time, they could follow one of three ways to remain in the country permanently. If they receive a higher-education degree, serve in the military or remain employed, they could apply for permanent residency -- and, later, citizenship. Those enlisted in the military would get an immediate chance at naturalization.

"There are many young immigrants in our country who came involuntarily with their families as minors. They have grown up with our own kids and attended American schools -- many speaking only English," Curbelo said in a statement. "Today they are trying to make a contribution to our great nation through the economy or the military. These are undoubtedly America's children."

Curbelo filed the legislation with a fellow Republican, Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado. Both represent two of the most competitive swing districts in the country, in states with a significant proportion of Hispanic voters. Coffman has received money from Curbelo's political committee, What a Country PAC, intended to support Republican members of Congress who like Curbelo back immigration reform. Curbelo's Westchester-to-Key West district leans in Democrats' favor.

Continue reading "Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo files new DREAM Act" »

As Rubio Watch continues, Carlos Beruff makes play for Miami Spanish-language radio

@PatriciaMazzei

In case there was any doubt that Republican Carlos Beruff plans to fight hard against Marco Rubio if the U.S. senator makes a last-minute decision to seek re-election, Beruff's campaign unveiled a new ad this week targeting Rubio's most loyal base: Cuban Americans in Miami.

The 60-second radio spot, which the campaign says is airing on local Spanish-language radio, highlights Beruff's Cuban bona fides. The ad is set up as a phone call, in which Beruff calls a female supporter.

"I like it when you talk about how your family came from Cuba, but why don't you tell about how they fought in the counter-revolution?" she says. Later, she adds: "And your uncle. Poor guy. What a man. He died in the Bay of Pigs along with so many others."

"If anyone understands the importance of a free Cuba, it's me," Beruff responds.

"But Carlos Beruff -- don't forget how politicians are here. They're already making atrocious insults," the woman warns. "I don't believe everything they say. But look, you have to talk more about the successful company you built yourself. You've built more than 2,000 houses here in Florida. And you're completely right about Washington. Those politicians forget who they're working for."

Concludes Beruff: "I think I'm going to let you record my next commercial."