In a meeting with the Miami Herald editorial board on Monday (see video excerpts below), Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio called $10,000 in hotel charges for a family reunion billed to a Republican Party of Florida credit card a "major mistake." Rubio's rather tortured explanation back in March when the Herald/Times discovered the charges is here.
Rubio added on Friday: "The rest were items that would pop up from month to month for different reasons. I don't have it in front of me now. I've gone over this for last six to eight months. The important thing is that if I saw it I paid for it. I paid for it out of my own pocket directly to American Express, months -- quite frankly in some instances -- two or three years before this became public to anybody. So that's a fact. There's no other way around it. The fact of the matter is that if I found an expenditure that was personal in nature I paid for it out of my own pocket directly to American Express. The Republican Party of Florida did not pay my personal expenses."
Rubio did send payments to American Express totaling $16,000 for his personal expenses during his tenure as House speaker. But those payments were not made monthly. He made no contributions to the bill during a six-month stretch in 2007, records show. And he has refused to release his credit card records for 2005 and 2006.
Expenses covered by the party included a $1,000 charge at Braman Honda in Miami for repairs to the family minivan that Rubio said was damaged at a political function. The party also paid $2,976 for him to rent a car in Miami for five weeks. Other expenses picked up by the party in 2007 and 2008: $765 at Apple's online store, $25.76 from Everglades Lumber, $53.49 at Winn-Dixie in Miami, $68.33 at Happy Wine in Miami, $78.10 for two purchases at Farm Stores in Miami, and $412 at All Fusion Electronics, a music equipment store in Miami.