Congressman Joe Garcia’s campaign paid his former adviser $25,000 for consulting work months after he was fired amid an election-fraud scandal, new financial disclosure documents show.
The payment to Jeffrey Garcia, no relation to the Miami Democratic representative for whom he was a chief of staff, came months after he received another eye-catching sum: a $25,000 “campaign win bonus” that Republicans suggested was “hush money.”
But Garcia’s campaign, which budgeted the bonus money before any troubles arose, denies any wrongdoing and said it had to pay Jeffrey Garcia’s company, Palm Media, after an invoice appeared in the campaign’s mailbox.
“There were outstanding invoices and we had to honor them. This invoice was for services between January 2013 to May 2013. It was reviewed by our attorney and our campaign treasurer,” Raul Martinez, Jr., a campaign adviser and the congressman’s new staff chief, said in an email.
The Sept. 13 expenditure, instantly questioned by Republicans after it surfaced late Wednesday, intensifies the spotlight on Garcia’s campaign and Miami-Dade’s elections.
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