Rivera, long known as a cunning political strategist, has been careful to parse his words when speaking about the DREAM Act. He may have never actually said that he opposes it. But he has also not supported it.
Rivera touted his own DREAM Act-lite proposals that would allow young people who immigrated illegally as children to remain in the country if they serve in the military or if they graduate for college — though without a path to citizenship.
Countered Garcia: “There are 118 co-sponsors of the DREAM Act. Mr. Rivera isn’t one of them.”
It was not the only time Sunday that Rivera chose his words carefully.
When Moreno asked about a pair of federal investigations involving Rivera, the congressman repeated a line he has used frequently over the past two years.
“No federal agency at any time has said I’m under investigation for anything,” Rivera said.
Moreno noted that Univision had spoken to John Borrero of Rapid Mail & Computer Services, who confirmed he has spoken to the FBI as a witness in one of the investigations.
“He’s not the FBI,” Rivera responded.
Borrero has said Rivera helped direct a $7,800 cash payment for a mailer put out by the campaign of Justin Lamar Sternad, who ran in the Democratic primary against Garcia. The FBI is investigating whether Rivera illegally funneled secret money to Sternad.
State records have also shown that federal authorities were investigating Rivera’s personal and campaign finances in a separate probe as late as last year triggered by a secret $500,000 dog-track payment the congressman had arranged.
In March, Rivera told Ramos in an interview that he had no knowledge of any investigations against him. By April, the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office had closed its state investigation into Rivera’s finances without filing any of the 52 charges drafted against him. Records show an attorney for Rivera had been negotiating with prosecutors for several months.
On Sunday, Rivera tried to turn the tables against Garcia, repeating unfounded allegations that Garcia is under investigation by the Federal Election Commission for campaign finance violations. The FEC has said no such probe exists; both Rivera and Garcia have received FEC letters flagging financial reporting incidents that do not amount to an “investigation.”
“It’s a fantasy,” Garcia said. “I understand Mr. Rivera’s desperation.”