Gal pal says former Fla. congressman David Rivera must pay for crimes

  A real-life political saga is playing out like an episode of “House of Cards” in Miami with a story of elections fraud that extends…

Ana Alliegro says David Rivera was in on the elections fraud scheme she orchestrated with the hopes of winning the congressional seat in Florida. (Photo Split: United States Congress)

A real-life political saga is playing out like an episode of “House of Cards” in Miami with a story of elections fraud that extends as far as Nicaragua. Ana Alliegro, the girlfriend and campaign manager of a former Republican congressman David Rivra says she’s taking the rap for an election funding scheme that landed her behind bars thanks to the prosecution by an assistant U.S. attorney she says is acting out of political favoritism.

“Are politicians above the law? I don’t get it,” Alliegro told The “Miami Herald” this month, when referring to ties between the former congressman and the prosecutor that might have compromised the case.

It’s the reason she says she’s still under house arrest, and the controversial politician is still a free man.

Alliegro — known as a political mover and shaker who has worked for, or been associated with, other local politicians in Miami — alleges that the former Republican representative from Florida  is safe from prosecution because he has proof that U.S. Attorney Thomas J. Mulvihill asked him to put in a good word for him with longtime friend GOP Senator Marco Rubio to help advance his career.

SEE ALSO: In Florida, Governor Rick Scott wins again; Joe Garcia loses

The Herald sent an email to Mulvihill but he did not respond for their story, however a spokeswomen did.

“While we have no comment on this investigation, the specific allegations about AUSA Mulvihill referenced in your e-mail are completely false,” Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos wrote.

But during his testimony in front of a grand jury, Alliegro repeatedly stated that Rivera was the mastermind behind the scheme that landed her and a man named Lamar Sternard in jail — all for creating a political distraction that was supposed to win Rivera the 2012 reelection.

The creation of a fake political candidate

Alliegro has served time in prison, and is presently on house arrest, however she testified to a federal grand jury that Rivera was behind the whole scheme. Lets not forget that as the FBI was investigating for possible elections fraud, Alliegro was a person of interest in the case. She mysteriously disappeared for months, well out of reach of the FBI in the United States. What was she doing? She was found to be living in Nicaragua, operating her own beauty salon under a different name. For more than a year her absence stalled the FBI’s investigation of Congressman David Rivera.

Ana Alliegro is accused of masterminding a fake political campaign for David Rivera.

Ana Alliegro dspent (Mugshot from Miami-Dade Corrections)

During the 2012 elections, Rivera allegedly funded the campaign of Democratic Congressional candidate Justin Lamar Sternad, who was running against his rival Rep. Joe Garcia.  Alliegro says Rivera told her to work on getting Sternad to agree to the scheme.  Rivera would pay for a cell phone, robo-calls, flyers, and even rental cars for the election — all to make Sternad look like a legitimate candidate. However, the plan was to prevent Garcia from getting a majority of the votes, giving the election victory to Rivera.

Garcia and his camp eventually started questioning how Sternad could afford to run and that’s when Rivera, Alliegro and Sternad starting covering their tracks.

“Sure, we got our story straight many times. He just kept changing the story. We got his story right,” Alliegro told the Herald. “And where I was blind, and I’ll admit it, I didn’t realize that every time we got the story straight, it was also throwing me under the bus. I was the scapegoat.”

Garcia won that election regardless of Alliegro and Sterndad’s political maneuvers. The Democrat legislator served in office until newcomer Republican Carlos Curbelo beat him in the midterm elections held November of 2014 for District 26.

Last year, Sternad testified to the scheme. He was sentenced to 30 days in prison and 3 months house arrest.

David Rivera has yet to be indicted, but the investigation continues

On Alliegro’s sentencing day last year, U.S District Judge Robert Scola said, “Some people would call it chivalry, some people call it sexism — that the man should come forward and not let the woman do time on his behalf,” the Herald reported. 

After spending a bit more than six months in federal prison, Alliegro was released in September 2014 after completing time served and agreeing to six months house arrest and two years of supervised release.

Rivera is no stranger to scandal.  He has a string of accusations under his belt.

In 2010, Rivera was suspected of receiving kickbacks for pushing for the approval of slot machines in the Florida legislature.  The FBI, IRS and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement closed the investigation after 18 months.  In 2012, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named Rivera their “Most Corrupt Member in Congress.”

Even with all the accusations, Rivera still tried to make a comeback last year in the GOP primary.  The Herald reported that out of 5 candidates, he came in 4thwith 2,200 votes, less than Sternad received two years prior during his illegally funded campaign.

Rep. David Rivera

Rep. David Rivera has faced several scandals in his career, but has never been formally accused of any crimes. (Associated Press)

SEE ALSO: Latinos are a sleeping giant when it comes to pope politics

Alliegro is taking responsibility for her mistakes but thinks Rivera should too.

“Far be it from me to understand the mind of a prosecutor who has an indictment within his reach,” she told the Herald. “Why are you stalling this? Why are you stalling this?”