Representative-elect David Rivera, R-Fla., under investigation for corruption 

This looks it could be a big scandal in the making:

The Miami-Dade state attorney's office is investigating more than $500,000 in secret payments from the owners of the Flagler Dog Track to a company tied to Congressman-elect David Rivera, The Miami Herald has learned.

Most of the money was paid in early 2008, weeks after Rivera -- then a member of the Florida House of Representatives, helped run a political campaign backed by the dog track to win voter approval for Las Vegas-style slot machines at parimutuel venues in Miami-Dade County.

The dog track, now called the Magic City Casino, made three payments totaling $510,000 to Millennium Marketing, a company currently co-managed by Rivera's 70-year-old mother. Investigators are still trying to determine if Rivera himself received any of the money, or if anything about the transaction was illegal, according to sources close to the inquiry.

Rivera, a Miami Republican elected to Congress on Nov. 2, has previously denied working for the dog track, though he played a public role in supporting the pro-slots referendum campaign. Rivera never reported receiving any money from Flagler during his eight-year tenure in the Legislature.

So far this is all smoke and no fire -- but I hope the new House GOP leadership takes allegations of corruption among their ranks more seriously than their Democratic predecessors.

 

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Mark Hemingway

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