Rhonda Rebman Lopez’s attempt to explain away her Maduro Money exposed her to campaign finance violations
Miami-Dade, FL: - Today, the chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, Steve Simeonidis, filed a formal complaint against Rhonda Rebman Lopez, Republican candidate for Florida House District 120. The complaint alleges that Ms. Rebman Lopez accepted a $1,000 contribution in violation of Florida statute 106.08 which states that “[a] person may not make any contribution through or in the name of another, directly or indirectly, in any election.”
The money in question is a September 2019 campaign contribution from Interamerican Consulting, Inc., run by disgraced former Congressman David Rivera. When news broke last month that Mr. Rivera had been paid millions of dollars by PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company, in order to influence American politicians, it didn’t take long to find out where the money was being funneled: into the campaign coffers of Republican politicians in Miami-Dade. Mr. Rivera’s company, Interamerican Consulting, Inc. had made contributions to Esteban “Steve” Bovo (candidate for County Mayor), John DuBois (candidate for County Commission District 8), and Rhonda Rebman Lopez.
While Mr. Bovo has pledged to return the money and tried to distance himself from this scandal, and Mr. DuBois has chosen silence, Ms. Rebman Lopez chose a different strategy. Ms. Rebman Lopez told a reporter from Florida Politics that “[David Rivera’s] sister Diana, who’s a school teacher and Democrat, gave me that check . . . . My mother was a public school teacher for over 40 years. Why would I reject a contribution from a school teacher?” Whether this story is true or not, it is on its face a violation of Florida’s campaign finance laws.
Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chair Steve Simeonidis issued the following statement:
“Either Rhonda Rebman Lopez accepted tainted money funneled from the brutal dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro through a corrupt former Congressman, or she accepted a donation from that man’s sister, but broke campaign finance law in the process. We are tired of the dirty money flowing into Republican politics in Miami-Dade County. We are tired of the lame excuses from those who seek to represent us in our legislature. We call on the Florida Election Commission to investigate these allegations swiftly and bring appropriate corrective action as soon as possible.”
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