A former campaign manager for one-time Democratic Congressman Joe Garcia plans to plead guilty Thursday in Miami federal court to financing a tea party candidate in a scheme to siphon votes from his Republican nemesis. In April, Jeffrey Garcia was charged with a misdemeanor of conspiring to give a campaign contribution of less than $25,000 to the shadow candidate in the 2010 Miami congressional race. Prosecutors said Garcia, no relation to the former congressman, surreptitiously put up the $10,440 qualifying fee for Jose Rolando “Roly” Arrojo to pose as a GOP challenger to David Rivera in the general election. Arrojo was also charged with the same misdemeanor.
Florida: Feds charge ex-congressional chief of staff with secretly funding 2010 ringer candidate | Miami Herald
Federal prosecutors on Friday accused former Miami Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia’s ex-chief of staff of secretly financing a ringer tea-party candidate in 2010 to draw votes away from a Republican rival — an illegal scheme that appeared to inspire a more serious copycat case two years later. Jeffrey Garcia was charged with conspiracy to give a campaign contribution of less than $25,000, a misdemeanor offense. Prosecutors say Garcia, no relation to the former congressman, put up the $10,440 qualifying fee for the shadow candidate, Jose Rolando “Roly” Arrojo, to pose as another challenger to David Rivera. Arrojo was also charged Friday with the same misdemeanor.
Congressman Joe Garcia’s former chief of staff will head to jail for orchestrating a fraudulent, online absentee-ballot request scheme during last year’s elections. Jeffrey Garcia, the Miami Democratic congressman’s longtime political strategist, will spend 90 days in jail as part of a plea deal reached with the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office, the Miami Herald has learned. The deal, expected to be inked Monday, will require Garcia, 41, no relation to the congressman, to plead guilty to requesting absentee ballots on behalf of voters, a felony. His attorney, Henry Bell, noted Garcia never “touched a ballot, manipulated a vote or otherwise interfered with anyone’s vote.” “He accepts responsibility for his conduct which involved requesting absentee ballots for voters when it was the voters themselves who are required to make the requests,” Bell said in a statement. “Jeff is a good person who made a mistake. He is sorry and is doing the right thing in admitting this and accepting responsibility.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia says he’s angry — and was clueless — that his chief of staff was involved in a cockamamie absentee-ballot scheme during last year’s Democratic Party primary in Congressional District 26, which stretches from the Florida Keys north to Kendall. His chief of staff, Jeffrey Garcia (no relation to the congressman) has resigned, and a Miami-Dade state attorney’s office investigation continues. Prosecutors should pursue the truth purposefully and with due diligence. No dilly-dallying. Voters whose choice in 2012 was between two political enemies — Mr. Garcia, the former head of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, and former U.S. Rep. David Rivera, a Republican who has his own troubles with campaign and tax laws — deserve to know exactly what went down in this race and to hold their elected representative accountable if it is found he played a role in this scheme.
Justin Lamar Sternad, whose failed congressional campaign became the subject of a federal grand-jury investigation, has told the FBI that U.S. Rep. David Rivera was secretly behind his run for office, The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald have learned. Sternad, 35, also told authorities that his campaign manager, Ana Sol Alliegro, acted as the conduit between the campaign and Rivera, who allegedly steered unreported cash to the Democrat’s campaign, according to sources familiar with the investigation and records shared with The Herald. Sternad said Alliegro referred to the congressman by his initials, “D.R.,” and called him by the nickname, “The Gangster.”
Florida: Campaign vendors say Republican Congressman David Rivera funded Democrat’s failed primary bid | MiamiHerald.com
Fueled with $43,000 in secret money, Republican Rep. David Rivera helped run a shadow campaign that might have broken federal laws in last week’s Democratic primary against his political nemesis Joe Garcia, according to campaign sources and finance records. As part of the effort, a political unknown named Justin Lamar Sternad campaigned against Garcia by running a sophisticated mail campaign that Rivera helped orchestrate and fund, campaign vendors said. Among the revelations: The mailers were often paid in envelopes stuffed with crisp hundred-dollar bills. Rivera and Sternad have denied working together in his campaign, which ended Aug. 14. But Hugh Cochran, president of Campaign Data, told The Herald this week that Rivera contacted him in July and requested he create a list of voters who were ultimately targeted in the 11 mailers sent by Sternad’s campaign. “David hired me to run the data,” said Cochran, who is a retired FBI agent.