The Federal Election Commission has sued a former Florida Republican congressman over allegations he secretly funneled thousands of dollars to a little-known Democratic candidate in 2012.
The lawsuit claims ex-Rep. David Rivera secretly and illegally contributed $69,400 to Justin Sternad in an attempt to weaken the rival Democratic campaign of Joe Garcia, who eventually won the seat. The lawsuit filed last week in Miami federal court seeks more than $480,000 in penalties.
Sternad and Rivera associate Ana Alliegro pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the scheme. Rivera has never been charged with a crime and has long denied any wrongdoing.
Rivera did not immediately respond Monday to an email seeking comment. Rivera last year narrowly lost a bid for a Florida state House seat but is running again in 2018.