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Judge Recommends Fines In Fmr. Congressman David Rivera Ethics Case

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) -- An administrative law judge said former state House budget chief David Rivera should pay nearly $58,000 in fines and restitution in a long-running ethics case.

Judge W. David Watkins found last year that Rivera, R-Miami, improperly received state travel reimbursements and did not adequately disclose financial information. But the state Commission on Ethics sent the case back to Watkins for a recommendation about penalties.

In a 38-page recommended order Thursday, Watkins wrote that Rivera should pay $16,500 in fines and nearly $41,322 in restitution and should face censure and reprimand.

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The recommendation will go back to the ethics commission, which will issue a final order about whether Rivera violated state laws.

The ultimate decision about penalties would be made by the House speaker, Watkins' ruling said.

Rivera, who served in Congress between 2010 and 2012, was found in violation of seven instances of Florida's Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees while he served in the state House, including accepting state reimbursement for travel already paid for by campaign accounts and not accurately disclosing his income.

"The News Service of Florida contributed to this report."

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