“The American people deserve to know whether a former member of Congress was secretly doing the bidding of a dictator responsible for committing crimes against humanity in Venezuela.”
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today sent a new request calling on the Department of Justice to investigate whether former Florida Republican Congressman David Rivera violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by failing to register as a foreign agent on behalf of Nicolas Maduro’s oppressive regime and Venezuela’s state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA). Rivera reportedly received millions to provide “strategic consulting services” to PDVSA. The Chairman’s letter follows increasing reports and an ongoing lawsuit suggesting that Mr. Rivera should have registered under FARA for his work on behalf of the regime.
“If Mr. Rivera carried out work that requires registration under FARA, it is imperative that the Justice Department ensure that he is held to account,” Chairman Menendez wrote in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland. “The American people deserve to know whether a former member of Congress was secretly doing the bidding of a dictator responsible for committing crimes against humanity in Venezuela.”
Chairman Menendez also raised his concerns that—despite additional disclosures that have surfaced in the last two years— “seemingly little progress has been made” on the matter since he first brought the serious allegations against Mr. Rivera to the Department’s attention. “To protect our national interests and promote continued transparency, I urge the Department to scrutinize Mr. Rivera’s apparent work on behalf of a foreign adversary intent on undermining U.S. national security interests,” added the Chairman.
Find a copy of the letter HERE and below.
Dear Attorney General Garland,
I write to reiterate my request that the Justice Department review whether former Congressman David M. Rivera violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by failing to register as a foreign agent working on behalf of the repressive regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. I am concerned that seemingly little progress has been made on this matter in the two years since I first raised the serious and credible allegations against Mr. Rivera with the Department. If Mr. Rivera carried out work that requires registration under FARA, it is imperative that the Justice Department ensure he is held to account.
FARA requires that anyone who agrees to act directly or indirectly on behalf of a foreign principal, including as a “public relations counsel, publicity agent, information service employee or political consultant”, register as a foreign agent. The purpose of the law is to ensure that the public has the necessary information to make judgements about the political activities of foreign governments and foreign agents operating in the United States. As noted in my May 18, 2020, letter to then Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers, press reports and an ongoing lawsuit suggest that Mr. Rivera engaged in work as a consultant on behalf of the Maduro regime that should have triggered a registration under FARA.
Through his Florida-based company, Interamerican Consulting, Mr. Rivera allegedly agreed to provide “strategic consulting services” to Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) after entering into a $50 million agreement with its U.S. based subsidiary (PDV USA) in 2017, of which Rivera collected $20 million. PDVSA is the state-owned oil and natural gas company of Venezuela, and was at the time controlled by Maduro. According to a complaint filed against Mr. Rivera’s consulting company by PDV USA, Interamerican “organized meetings and engaged with “important policy makers,” “key public officials,” and “public sector stakeholders” for the purported purpose of improving PDVSA’s “‘long-term reputation and standing’ in the United States.” According to the complaint, Mr. Rivera was selected to provide consulting services by PDVSA, and PDVSA was the entity that was responsible for determining the payments and work to be performed by Mr. Rivera.
Since my original letter, additional disclosures have only added to the likelihood that Mr. Rivera engaged in actions covered by FARA. In December 2020, PDV USA retroactively registered under FARA for engaging in activities on behalf of PDVSA. Among the activities identified is the 2017 Agreement with Mr. Rivera in which the Venezuelan state-owned oil company was identified as the client.
To protect our national interests and promote continued transparency, I urge the Department to scrutinize Mr. Rivera’s apparent work on behalf of a foreign adversary intent on undermining U.S. national security interests. The American people deserve to know whether a former Republican member of Congress was secretly doing the bidding of a dictator responsible for committing crimes against humanity in Venezuela.
As our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, I hope that you will give this matter the attention that it deserves.
El Senador Menéndez Reitera su Llamado para que el Departamento de Justicia Investigue Excongresista Republicano por Trabajar Como Agente del Régimen de Maduro
“El pueblo estadounidense merece saber si un exmiembro del Congreso estaba haciendo negocios a escondidas en nombre de un dictador responsable de cometer crímenes de lesa humanidad en Venezuela”.
WASHINGTON - El Senador Bob Menéndez (D-N.J.), Presidente del Comité de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado, envió hoy una nueva solicitud pidiéndole al Departamento de Justicia de EE.UU. que investigue si el excongresista republicano de la Florida, David Rivera, violó la Ley de Registro de Agentes Extranjeros (FARA, por sus siglas en inglés) al no inscribirse como agente extranjero en nombre del régimen opresor de Nicolás Maduro y de la compañía petrolera estatal venezolana Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA). Rivera supuestamente recibió millones para proporcionar "servicios de consultoría estratégica" a PDVSA. La carta del Senador se produce tras múltiples informes y una demanda en curso que sugieren que el Sr. Rivera debío haberse inscrito bajo la ley FARA por su trabajo en nombre del régimen venezolano.
“Si el Sr. Rivera llevó a cabo un trabajo que requiere una inscripción bajo la ley FARA, es imperativo que el Departamento de Justicia se asegure de que rinda cuentas”, escribió el Senador Menéndez en una carta al Fiscal General Merrick Garland. “El pueblo estadounidense merece saber si un exmiembro del Congreso estaba haciendo negocios a escondidas en nombre de un dictador responsable de cometer crímenes de lesa humanidad en Venezuela”.
El Senador Menéndez también expresó su preocupación por el hecho de que, a pesar de las nuevas revelaciones que han surgido en los últimos dos años, “aparentemente no se ha hecho mayor avance” en este asunto desde que el legislador presentó por primera vez las graves y creíbles acusaciones contra el Sr. Rivera ante el Departamento de Justicia.
“Para proteger nuestros intereses nacionales y promover la transparencia continua, insto al Departamento a que examine el aparente trabajo del Sr. Rivera en nombre de un adversario extranjero que esta dedicado a intentar socavar los intereses de seguridad nacional de los Estados Unidos”, añadió el Senador.
 22 U.S. Code §?611(c)(1)(ii).
 Letter from Robert Menendez to Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers, May 18, 2020, https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/05-18-20%20RM%20Letter%20to%20DOJ%20on%20FL%20Rep%20Rivera%20FARA.pdf.
 Jay Weaver and Antonio Maria Delgado, “Rivera diverted $13 million from Venezuelan deal to convicted drug trafficker, others,” Miami Herald, April 22, 2022, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/venezuela/article260644607.html.
 PDV USA, Inc. v. Interamerican Consulting Inc., Complaint, Case no. 20-cv-3699 (S.D.N.Y, May 13, 2020).
 PDV USA, Registration Statement Pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, OMB No. 1124-0006, December 12, 2020, https://efile.fara.gov/docs/6903-Exhibit-AB-20201231-1.pdf.
 Id., Attachment to Exhibit B at 2.