David Rivera, who has been dogged by questions on ethics issues in his first month in as a member of Congress, doesn’t think House Republican leaders are distancing themselves from him. In fact, he claims in an interview which aired on “Naples Daily NewsMakers with Jeff Lytle” on Sunday that he’s “probably the most transparent member of Congress as of right now.”Lytle kept trying to nail Rivera down on the specific allegations against him. But pretty much through the entirety of the interview, Rivera avoided getting into details and instead told Lytle he intended to focus on cutting down on the national debt and creating jobs. Usually, it went something like this exchange:
“I’m going to focus on being a congressman. I’m going to focus on the economy, on job creation, on doing everything possible to get our nation moving forward, bringing fiscal responsibility to Washington. That’s what I’ve been doing.”
“And no one is going to distract me from doing my job as a congressman. And I think that’s what the voters expect. I think that’s what the residents have told me they want me to do.”
Rivera is facing questions over his relationship with a political consultant who received $817,000 in fees from Rivera’s campaigns and affiliated political committees since 2006.
This being an actual in-person interview, Rivera wasn’t able to brush off questions quite as easily — say by referring reporters to a Comcast.net e-mail address answered by an anonymous person. So Lytle kept trying:
Lytle: The leadership of your own party isn’t really so sure what they think of you.
They’re not coming to your defense; they’re saying let’s see what happens. And already there are at least five Republicans being mentioned in the national press who are ready to take your job.
Rivera: Well, I don’t agree with that. The fact of the matter is they’re saying the same thing that I’m saying. If there are state entities looking at something, let the process play itself out.
The Miami New Times, a local alt-weekly which has been asking hard questions about Rivera’s ethics issues, points out that at one point during the interview Rivera “tries to dismiss the fact that he gave more than $813,000 to a political consultant by saying he was merely trying to pay journalist’s salary.”
“See, if Rivera didn’t put ads in the newspapers the media couldn’t survive. Apparently,” the newspaper jokes.
Watch the three part interview below: