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RPOF trusted members to use credit cards appropriately

The Republican Party of Florida trusted high-ranking lawmakers to repay any personal expenses on their party credit cards, says spokeswoman Katie Gordon.

"I don't think it's appropriate for the party to question the former Speaker of the House's judgment as to when it was appropriate to use the card,'' Gordon said. "The cardholders are members of the Legislature. Why would we not trust them to use their due diligence to repay personal expenses?...Why would we not take their word for it?''

Gordon said there was no formal party rules on credit card use but "it is a corporate card and the nature of that is that it be used for business expenses." She emphasized that her comment in the Herald/Times story today was not specifically aimed at Rubio; she was speaking in general about the party's policy.

Currently, the party has only one credit card in the name of CFO Richard Swarttz. Staff members who want to use the card to book travel or hotels need to get permission from the executive director and fill out an authorization form. Lawmakers can also get authorization ahead of time, or they can use their own credit cards and get reimbursed.

Gordon said the party will not release statements of the other credit cardholders.

"We have an auditor in the building right now,'' Gordon said. "It's not in the best interest of the party to have internal financial information trickle out.''