Rep. David Rivera (R-FL)

I’ve been following this lurid tale down in South Florida of Republican Rep. David Rivera, who apparently bankrolled the campaign of a straw Democratic candidate with the purpose of driving up the negatives of his eventual Democratic challenger, Joe Garcia. The story includes “envelopes stuffed with cash” and a key campaign operative who disappeared.

Now Justin Lamar Sternad, the fake candidate in question, has admitted to the FBI what was obvious all along – that he was indeed a fake candidate put up by Rivera with seed money to take down Garcia.

Justin Lamar Sternad, whose failed congressional campaign became the subject of a federal grand-jury investigation, has told the FBI that U.S. Rep. David Rivera was secretly behind his run for office, The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald have learned.

Sternad, 35, also told authorities that his campaign manager, Ana Sol Alliegro, acted as the conduit between the campaign and Rivera, who allegedly steered unreported cash to the Democrat’s campaign, according to sources familiar with the investigation and records shared with The Herald.

Sternad said Alliegro referred to the congressman by his initials, “D.R.,” and called him by the nickname, “The Gangster.”

“The Gangster.” The details in this story really make it priceless.

Alliegro is the operative who skipped town the day the FBI was to meet with her. That was three weeks ago, and her whereabouts are unknown.

How stupid is this Congressman to think that he could get away with this? Sternad never filed an FEC report, made a modest living as a night hotel worker, held about $120 in his bank account, and yet produced a dozen full-color mailers going negative on Garcia, allegedly paid for out of self-funding?

Sadly, it sounds like Sternad was just a pawn in all of this. Alliegro came to him and promoted him as a candidate, with Rivera in the background as a “mystery investor.” The two never met. Alliegro promised that “The Gangster” would get Sternad a better job if he agreed to the scheme. Now he’s likely to get an indictment.

As for Rivera, the evidence is enough her to show the violation of multiple federal laws. And a TV movie.