US Rep David Rivera denies ethics violations

Rivera running for reelection against Joe Garcia

MIAMI – U.S. Rep. David Rivera denied any wrongdoing after the Florida Ethics Commission on Wednesday found probable cause that he committed 11 violations of ethics laws while he was a state legislator.

"These are the same false allegations," said Rivera.

Rivera called the 11 findings of probable cause that he violated state ethics laws a political ploy with politically motivated timing.

"I deny all of the false allegations that were leveled more than two years ago," Rivera told Local 10's Glenna Milberg. "I deny every single one of them as they have been dismissed by other authorities as false."

Two of the findings accuse Rivera of profiting from a consulting contract his mother's company had with then Flagler Dog Track to spearhead the 2008 pro-casino campaign in Miami-Dade County. He called them loans -- not profits -- and denied a conflict of interest in the gambling push during his tenure as a state lawmaker.

Two other findings accuse Rivera of using campaign funds for personal use, and the rest involve state financial disclosure from 2005-2009.

"I have properly complied with every single letter and spirit of financial disclosure requirements in the State of Florida and at the federal level," said Rivera.

"There is a decision that you have to make whether to fight this probable cause allegation or negotiate a settle and get it out of the way. Which of those two things do you plan to do?" asked Milberg.

"I am going to completely focus, like a laser beam, 100 percent, on the issues voters care about," said Rivera.

The chairman of the Florida Ethics Commission told Local 10 that the commission was split on whether to levy the probable cause charges against Rivera.

Sources have told Local 10 that Rivera is also under FBI investigation, accused of strategizing and possibly paying for the campaign of a Democratic opponent, Justin Lamar Sternad. He has denied that an investigation is under way.