TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Former Miami Congressman David Rivera lost his bid Friday to delay a Florida Commission on Ethics case that found he violated the state’s rules for elected officials.

Rivera, who didn’t attend Friday morning’s hearing in Tallahassee, has been under federal investigation for campaign spending violations.

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At the hearing Friday, the Commission unanimously rejected Rivera’s effort for a delay and recommended instead that administrative law judge David Watkins recommend penalties for the violations, according to CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald.

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.

Two of his lawyers quit representing him in July, and the third quit in August.

On Thursday afternoon, Tallahassee attorney Leonard Collins filed a motion for continuance that had missed the deadline for Friday’s meeting.

“(Rivera) respectfully requests a continuance so that his counsel can carry out the above referenced review of the record and necessary legal research in order to properly prepare to address these issues before the Florida Commission on Ethics,” Collins wrote in the motion.

Commission members didn’t seem to like the fact that Collins nor Rivera were not at the hearing Friday to argue the case.

The board voted quickly against the motion, and went ahead with the rest of the agenda.

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A half-hour later, however, Collins showed up and complained that the board took the agenda out of order which is why he missed the case.

Rivera eventually joined him in the audience hoping to find some way to delay the case.

Earlier this week, Rivera’s past political associate Ana Alliegro was sentenced in the campaign-finance scheme.

U.S. District Judge Robert Scola sentenced Alliegro to six months in jail but gave her credit for time she’s already served since her arrest in March in Nicaragua, where she had fled to avoid investigators. Scola also ordered her to serve six months of home detention and two years’ probation.

She was released from jail the same day.

Alliegro, 44, admitted helping illegally funnel about $80,000 to a previously unknown candidate in the 2012 Democratic primary for the 26th District House seat. Alliegro also implicated Rivera, prosecution papers identify him as “co-conspirator A”, but he has not been charged and has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)


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