The consultant, Esther Nuhfer, is the same consultant who received $150,000 in the weeks before Election Day from the Miami-Dade Republican Party, but who never provided the party with detailed invoices of where the money went.
The Herald now reports that Rivera paid Nuhfer $250,000 -- including $150,000 in "bonus" money -- for a State Senate campaign that he ended up abandoning in order to run for Congress.
As was the case when TPM tried to ask Rivera about Nuhfer, the Herald had to address questions to an e-mail account for his campaign. While it was unclear to TPM who was writing the responses from the account, the Herald says responses came from Rivera himself:
In campaign reports, Nuhfer is described as a fundraising consultant. But in a written response to questions from The Herald, Rivera listed some 41 different functions Nuhfer performed for the Senate campaign, including: "general consulting," "political consulting," "collateral material development," "coalitions building," "consultant liaison," and "travel coordination, school site outreach program, web-site development, GOP auxiliary organizations liaison, precinct analysis, et cetera."
Rivera said the bonus payments to Nuhfer from his State Senate campaign were a "contractually-obligated expenditure for the campaign having successfully reached the fundraising bonus threshold," but he did not provide a copy of his contract with Nuhfer to the Herald.
The Herald also details how close Nuhfer worked with Rivera when he was in Florida's House of Representatives:
During the legislative session, Nuhfer was a constant presence in Rivera's office: She often could be found sitting at or near his desk, using the telephone or typing on her laptop next to Rivera's legislative aide, Alina Garcia, who was Nuhfer's roommate in Tallahassee.
Nuhfer is no longer registered as a lobbyist in Florida, and the Herald reports that she has been spotted in Rivera's new DC office.
Read the rest here.