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Rubio trying to lend Rivera star power?

Marco Rubio, a frontrunner for U.S. Senate and a national name in the Republican party, campaigned Wednesday with a close pal on shakier political ground -- congressional candidate David Rivera -- at one of the busiest early voting sites in Miami-Dade.

Rivera has been stung by reports in The Miami Herald that he reported income from the U.S. Agency for International Development on the sworn financial disclosure forms he filed as a state legislator, even though the federal agency has no record of his employment. Rivera amended the forms to remove USAID after the Herald story but has repeatedly refused to say what he does for a living.

Rivera is running against Democrat Joe Garcia, a former chairman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party and Obama administration official. He and Rubio spoke to reporters at the West Dade Regional Library.

"I'm honored to be here with some other exciting candidates that are on the ballot, beginning on the federal level with David Rivera, who's a candidate for Congress and is doing a phenomenal job,'' said Rubio, who served with Rivera in the Florida House until term limits forced him out in 2008. "I have no doubt that two weeks from yesterday, David will be the new congressman from District 25."

Rivera and Rubio co-own a a home together in Tallahassee that was briefly the subject of a foreclosure lawsuit after the mortgage went unpaid for five months, according to court documents. The matter was settled.

For the past four years, USAID was the only income reported by Rivera, aside from his $30,000 salary as a legislator. Since 2003, he has not reported income from consulting work, even though state ethics rules require the disclosure of any annual income over $1,000.

Since Rubio has a financial commitment with Rivera, it seemed reasonable to ask him if he knew how Rivera earns his money. "You need to ask him,'' Rubio said. "I'm here to talk about my campaign.''

Rivera said: "Look at the financial disclosure forms. They speak for themselves."