Fla. Republican facing state probe calls himself 'most transparent' member

Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) — who is facing a state criminal investigation of his finances — claimed Friday he is "probably the most transparent member of Congress."

The freshman congressman cited the fact that he voluntarily released financial information to "dispel a lot of any concerns that may have been put out there during the campaign."

Rivera has been under investigation since late last year over allegations of secret payments paid to a company with ties to him.

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Asked by Florida journalist Jeff Lytle about the investigation, Rivera replied, "Well, actually I’m probably the most transparent member of Congress as of right now."

The comment is likely to rile Rivera's opponents, who have shined a spotlight on the allegations with the hopes of painting him as corrupt. 

Democrats have also put pressure on Republican leaders in Congress to condemn Rivera, citing their commitment to a zero tolerance policy toward ethics lapses. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) addressed the investigation last month, saying, "We're waiting to see how this plays out."

The congressman is not taking those words to mean that the House GOP leadership does not support him. Asked about the fact that leadership "is not coming to your defense," Rivera said, "Well, I don’t agree with that. The fact of the matter is they’re saying the same thing that I’m saying. If there are state entities looking at something, let the process play itself out.

"No one is going to distract me from doing my job as a congressman," he said.

The investigation of Rivera has expanded to examine his relationship with his fundraising consultant, who has reportedly received more than $800,000 in fees from Rivera since 2006.

Rivera has denied the allegations. But before his interview, he had stayed relatively quiet since the new year. He explained that he did not have to release his financial data until May.

"Let me tell you, I didn’t have to do that until — I believe it’s May of this year," he said. "I am the only member of Congress that has put out their federal financial disclosure before anybody else has done so."

Questions, however, still surround Rivera's donors from his time in the Florida state legislature, which are being probed by Florida law enforcement.