Congressman avoids questions about filing false financial campaign reports

David Rivera denies connection to Sternad's campaign

MIAMI – Congressman David Rivera of Miami (R-District 26) on Friday danced around questions concerning his relationship with Justin Lamar Sternad of Cutler Bay, a Democrat who came in third in the Aug. 14 Democratic primary in Rivera's congressional district.

The Miami Herald has reported that several political consultants and vendors who've worked in the past for Rivera say they provided services for Sternad's 2012 campaign at the direction of Rivera and some of his campaign staff.

Rivera refused to answer directly when asked by political reporter Michael Putney if he or his campaign has helped Sternad in any way.  Rivera simply referred to an earlier statement. 

"The statements that I've issued about that speak for themselves," Rivera said.

A statement issued by Rivera's campaign denies any connection whatsoever to Sternad.  However, Sternad's financial reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show some $53,000 worth of printing and mail services from companies with deep ties to Rivera and his  previous campaigns. 

The FBI is reportedly looking into possible connections between Sternad and Rivera.  It is illegal to knowingly file false financial campaign reports. The congressman said today that he's not been subpoenaed or invited to appear before a grand jury that is also said to be looking into the case.