$1.8 million raised by Matt Gatez during first quarter of 2021

Matt Gaetz

Matt Gaetz now faces scandal and is being investigated regarding sex trafficking and possibly other federal crimes.

In the first quarter of 2021, Matt Gaetz was riding high on campaign fundraising, picking up $1.8 million in the first quarter of 2021.

Matt Gaetz, of Fort Walton Beach, collected more than twice as much campaign money as any other Florida member of Congress in the three-month reporting period of January, February, and March.

In fact, it was one of the most impressive first-quarter hauls in all of Congress. In Florida, Republican Rep. Brian Mast of Stuart collected $749,000, Republican Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar of Miami drew $525,000, and five others (three Democrats and two Republicans) managed more than $300,000.

Matt Gaetz’s first-quarter report to the Federal Election Commission shows he entered the first quarter of 2021 by rolling over $1.6 million left from his previous election cycle. He raised a little more than $1.8 million and spent a little more than $1.3 million. That left him with about $2 million in his campaign fund with which he can fight.

Since the scandal emerged, his campaign has been openly asking potential donors to send him money because of the allegations against him, contending he is something of a martyr, with some out to destroy loyal Trump supporters like him.

Before the scandal breaking, Gaetz had enjoyed a nearly open invitation to appear on several national conservative media networks such as Fox News and had developed a national base as one of the staunchest and most fiery supporters of former President Donald Trump and his make America great again movement. That base embraced him with money.

Only 11 of the other 434 members of the House raised more money than Gaetz during the quarter. They mostly include congressional leaders  such as Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, or partisan lightning rods for the left or right wings, such as Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Among itemized donations, Gaetz’s campaign collected $7,420 on the day after the report, March 31. That was an above-average daily receipt, but nowhere near impressive. The campaign details $28,000 raised on Jan. 14 and more than $10,000 on each of eight other days in the three-month period.

As happened with his 2020 election campaign, Gaetz drew well from outside Florida in the first quarter of 2021, at least based on his itemized donations. He collected $87,000 from itemized Florida contributors, about 21% of the itemized total for the period. He got $67,000 from California donors and $45,000 from Texas.

Gaetz’s campaign also spent more than $1.3 million during the quarter.

David Rivera fined $456,000 for campaign scheme

David Rivera fined $456,000 for campaign scheme 1

David Rivera, former Florida congressman has been involved in a scandal and a couple of lawsuits over the past 10 years. He was ordered to pay a fine of $456,000 to the Federal Election Commission for a civil lawsuit in which he allegedly carried out a scheme during a 2012 congressional primary to fund the campaign of Democratic candidate Justin Lamar Strenad to weaken the campaign of Rivera’s opponent, Joe Garcia.

Rivera was granted a chance to dismiss the Federal Election Commission’s complaint in 2017 by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, citing a Utah court ruling that the Federal Election Commission had overstepped. However, the agency filed an amended complaint in 2019, which Rivera again tried to have dismissed, but this time the court sided with the Federal Election Commission and the lawsuit moved forward.

The Federal Election Commission had accused Rivera in the complaint of making approximately $55,000 in campaign contributions in the name of another. Rivera has continued to deny any wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, the court granted the Federal Election Commission’s proposal for summary judgment, stating in an order that “the record evidence quite obviously paints a picture showing that Rivera engaged in a scheme to unlawfully fund the Sternad campaign.”

“And Rivera’s opposition brief fails to rebut or even address much of that evidence,” the order reads.

The Federal Election Commission sought a $456,000 civil penalty, which the court granted.

David Rivera had come under legal scrutiny before. He was under federal investigation in 2011 for his involvement in a secret consulting contract that a casino cut with a marketing company listed in his mother’s name, but the case went nowhere.

Moreover, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has also been preparing to charge former Florida Congressman David Rivera in a 52-count indictment alleging theft, money laundering and racketeering stemming from his use of public money and cash contributed to committees he used for political purposes — before the prosecutor’s office was persuaded by Rivera’s attorneys to drop the effort.

David Rivera also lost a court battle in 2016 concerning his finances as a state legislator, for which he was to be fined $58,000. However, he didn’t have to pay since he was no longer a member of the Florida House, which would have needed to enforce the fine.