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Miami-Dade state attorney formally closes investigation into David Rivera's finances

Miami-Dade prosecutors on Wednesday formally closed their investigation of Congressman David Rivera without filing criminal charges, and called on state lawmakers to stiffen the campaign-finance laws that they say frustrated their 18-month investigation.

Working with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, prosecutors examined Rivera's spending from campaign accounts during his years as a state lawmaker and concluded that Rivera "essentially live[d] off" campaign contributions for several years, according to a memo released late Wednesday. But state laws on campaign and legislative spending made prosecution impossible, the State Attorney's Office concluded.

For example, the FDLE found that Rivera, a Miami Republican, charged travel expenses to both his campaign accounts and his legislative office account - resulting in $29,500 in double-billing from 2006 to 2010, the records show. But prosecutors said they could not charge Rivera with felony theft, because state law says any charges based on false travel vouchers must only be misdemeanors - and must be prosecuted within two years of the offense.

Through his campaign, Rivera issued a statement calling the prosecution memo "outrageous and libelous." He said the report fails to mention "detailed evidence refuting all of their false allegations" that Rivera provided to investigators.

"In the end, however, one fact remains. Congressman Rivera has been exonerated," the statement said. Story here. Read the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office closeout memo here and FDLE report here.