Blog — Corruption
We here at CREW have spent countless hours attempting to make sense of former Rep. David Rivera’s (R-FL) impenetrable schemes. And somehow, it just keeps getting weirder.
The former representative first baffled us with a series of byzantine financial plots that, once we sorted through them, essentially amounted to overly complicated attempts at tax evasion and money laundering. Hey, that’s Florida for you. Par for the course.
Last year, Rep. Rivera again confounded us when news emerged of his clumsy attempts to allegedly funnel money to Justin Lamar Sternad, a Democratic candidate who was running in the primary to oppose him.
The Miami Herald blew the whistle after campaign vendors said Rep. Rivera himself had been involved in commissioning and paying for Mr. Sternad’s mailers. That Rep. Rivera – he’s a real criminal mastermind. He lost his bid for re-election after voters in his district apparently decided they didn’t need the hassle. Mr. Sternad pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations earlier this month. Rep. Rivera hasn’t been charged, but federal investigators have been looking into his role.
Of course, there’s a twist. As federal investigators attempted to investigate the election case, a key witness vanished on the day she was supposed to talk to them. Ana Alliegro, a political operative and good friend of Rep. Rivera’s who had worked as Mr. Sternad’s campaign manager, has been missing for more than six months.
Oh, she sent out a few Tweets right before the election – “Going to watch SkyFall...super excited!” she chirped happily on November 3 – but nothing since. Earlier this month, the Miami Herald reported her whereabouts “aren’t known to the general public.” There’s no warrant for her arrest, but nonetheless, it’s clear the self-described “conservative bad girl” is on the lam.
Wild theories abound, at least among those who have been following the bizarre tale. Where in the world is Ana Alliegro? This week, an answer appears to be emerging and it is…Nicaragua. No, really. A Miami-based Spanish language television station is reporting Ms. Alliegro entered Nicaragua on September 6, and there is no record of her subsequently leaving the country. Apparently, we all should have thought of this possibility because Ms. Alliegro’s father reportedly once helped train contra rebels there. Against the surreal backdrop of Rep. Rivera’s wrongdoing, this almost manages to make sense.
Still, there are questions to ponder. When Rep. Rivera and his cohorts embarked on this scheme, were they trying to create the weirdest congressional ethics scandal ever? Did he have a bet with former Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-IL) that can explain why Rep. Jackson’s case featured a sting involving a taxidermist, stuffed elk heads, and Michael Jackson memorabilia?
And most importantly, how on earth are the members who make CREW’s Most Corrupt members of Congress list this year going to top this?
More Blog Posts
It's not likely Rep. Jackson is the only member of Congress who illegally used campaign cash for personal use — he's just one of the few who have been caught. Read More ›
The relationship between the show's power couple and a gas company may appear so brazenly corrupt that it could only have been conjured by a Hollywood screenwriter, but unfortunately, it’s all too common. Read More ›
March 11, 2013 | Congress, Corruption, Democrats, Federal Agencies, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Pay to Play, Republicans, House Members, Edolphus Towns, James Clyburn, Joe Barton, Ralph Hall, Governors, Bobby Jindal, Joe Baca
As the incoming class of lawmakers prepare to settle into their new offices, they should keep in mind that their constituents will be watching more than their voting records. Read More ›
December 7, 2012 | Corruption, Democrats, Elections, Ethics, Most Corrupt, Republicans, Under Investigation, House Members, David Rivera, Scott DesJarlais, Joe Walsh, Laura Richardson, Shelley Berkley, Vern Buchanan
How can we be sure the Pentagon is receiving unbiased counsel from retired officials whose livelihoods now depends on maximizing profits for their new employers?
Read More ›
November 20, 2012 | Corporate, Corruption, Ethics, Conflict of Interests, Federal Agencies, Department of Defense, Department of the Air Force, Department of the Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, US Army, Lobbying, News, Boston Globe, Melanie Sloan