Florida Rep. David Rivera’s (R) $50 million contract with an oil company owned by the Venezuelan’s socialist government has been controversial because of the congressman’s vocal opposition to the Cuban communist government.
This week, New Jersey Rep. Bob Menendez (D), the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, directed a letter to the Honorable John C. Demers of the U.S. Department of Justice, calling for the Justice Department to review whether former Rep. Rivera violated the Foreign Agent Registration Act in his work for the Venezuelan Maduro regime and Venezuela’s state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.
In the letter, Menendez argued that “recent press reports and a lawsuit suggest that former Congressman David M. Rivera (R-FL-25) worked on behalf of a foreign principal and conducted acitivities covered under the registration requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).” In turn, Menendez requested that “the Department of Justice review whether Mr. Rivera was in compliance with FARA, including whether he has an obligation to retroactively register as a foreign agent on behalf of the Maduro regime.”
Furthermore, Menendez wrote that “if the U.S. Government is to be taken seriously in our efforts to defend and protect the Venezuelan people from the tyranny of the Maduro regime, the last thing we should tolerate is a former member of Congress potentially violating U.S. laws as he does the regime’s dirty work in the United States.”
In response to the investigation request, Florida Rep. Donna Shalala (D) shared Menendez’s request on Twitter, voicing her support by saying that “no U.S. citizen should be profiting from the Maduro regime.”
No U.S. citizen should be profiting from the Maduro regime.
I fully support launching this investigation.https://t.co/ECEszhiHCr
— Rep. Donna E. Shalala (@RepShalala) May 19, 2020
South Florida is the home of many exiles who have fled their countries because of communist governments that have been oppressive. Earlier this year, when Democratic-Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I) stirred controversy over saying that it was “unfair to simply say everything is bad” when referring to the Castro regime in Cuba, Rep. Shalala denounced Sanders’ comments and his candidacy, arguing that “he’s just unacceptable to people in South Florida and people across our state.”