A new Florida Democratic Party (FDP) ad is attempting to handcuff GOP candidate Ana Maria Rodriguez to former U.S. Rep. David Rivera after Rivera agreed to a $50 million consulting deal with the Venezuelan government.
Rodriguez, however, has countered that Rivera has “no ties” to her current campaign for Senate District 39. A search through campaign finance reports showed neither he nor his consulting firm has donated to her campaign.
That consulting firm, Interamerican Consulting, agreed to a $50 million deal in 2017 with Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), which the Nicolás Maduro government controlled at the time.
Republicans — including Rodriguez — have repeatedly labeled Democratic opponents as “socialists” in the past. The deal between Rivera — who has strong ties to the South Florida GOP community — and PDVSA led Democrats to turn those allegations back against the GOP.
“Tell me who your friends are…and I’ll tell you who you are,” says a new digital ad from the FDP.
The ad references the Rivera-PDVSA deal before showing a years-old photo of Rivera and Rodriguez together.
“So, tell us…who are you, Ana Maria?” the ad then asks.
While Interamerican Consulting has donated to several conservative politicians this cycle, Rodriguez is not one of them. Four days after the PDVSA story broke, Rodriguez shot down a so-called “feeble attempt” by her Democratic opponent, Rep. Javier Fernández, to connect Rivera to her campaign.
“I do know Mr. Rivera. Having been involved in the Miami community for years, it’s inconceivable that I wouldn’t know Mr. Rivera. However, he has no ties to me or my campaign,” Rodriguez said.
“And, while I have no knowledge about his dealings whatsoever, I certainly condemn any work done on behalf of the Maduro regime.”
Rodriguez also said she supported an investigation into Rivera’s dealings, which is reportedly underway.
Nevertheless, Fernández criticized Rodriguez for the days-long delay in condemning Rivera.
“While Republicans, like Rep. Rodriguez, are quick to label their Democratic opponents as socialists, they swallow their tongues when their friend and former colleague admits to lining his pockets with money from a murderous regime,” Fernández said prior to Rodriguez’ eventual response.
“Republicans should be ashamed to call someone paid by Maduro to lobby the United States government their friend.”
Interamerican consulting did donate to other GOP candidates this cycle, such as Miami-Dade mayoral candidate Esteban Bovo and House District 120 candidate Rhonda Rebman Lopez.
PDVSA sued Rivera after failing to perform on the deal to help earn influence among U.S. policymakers. The company says they paid $15 million of the $50 million owed to Rivera, but that Interamerican Consulting failed to live up to its contract.
To view the ad, click on the image below: