MIAMI - Joe Garcia is challenging U.S. Rep. David Rivera for his seat in the 26th Congressional district, which runs from west Miami-Dade down to Key West.
Sources told Local 10 that a federal grand jury is looking into Rivera and his possible connection to Justin Lamar Sternad, who ran in the Democratic primary against Garcia. Rivera has often avoided questions about his finances, his relationship with political consultant Ana Alliegro and the campaign she ran for Sternad.
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"You are under investigation by the FBI according to several sources. We've reported that, the Miami Herald, Nuevo Herald, Reuters has done that. As recently as last week, you were saying, 'Hey, I don't know anything about an investigation.' Don't you?" Local 10 Senior Political Reporter Michael Putney asked Rivera on This Week in South Florida last month.
"Well, here's the deal, here's the reality which I've said for the past two years -- no federal agency, none whatsoever has ever stated, as ever confirmed that David Rivera is under investigation for anything," replied Rivera.
But sources told Local 10 the FBI is looking into whether Rivera funneled more than $60,000 to Sternad's campaign.
"Well, as you know, Michael, I've made various statements on this matter. I've issued several statements on this matter," answered Rivera.
Garcia is running against Rivera with backing from organized labor and the Democratic National Committee.
"This is not about investigations. This is about the issues that matter to people in South Florida, 800,000 people," Garcia said after a forum in October. "When this gentleman gets up, he stands up for all of us, and either we have someone that is going to stand up for the truth or we have someone who's fabricating stuff to get to the next electoral cycle."
Garcia is the former chairman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party. He sat on the Public Service Commission of the State of Florida, and worked for the Obama administration in Washington after he lost to Rivera two years ago.
Rivera refused to meet with the Miami Herald editorial board. Garcia instead received an endorsement.
"I'm running against the Democrat. I'm running against perhaps the most corrupt Democrat that has ever run for office in South Florida ," said Rivera on This Week in South Florida.
Rivera has alleged that Garcia is under investigation.
"Well, Michael, then you're having an argument with your own station which has said I'm not under investigation, with Univision which has said I'm not under investigation, with El Nuevo Herald which has said I'm not under investigation, with the federal elections commission which has said I'm not under investigation," answered Rivera.
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