If Sen. Marco Rubio is eventually tapped to be a Republican vice-presidential candidate, expect a lot more of this from groups like American Bridge 21st Century:
Washington, DC – Marco Rubio recently sent an email to supporters touting a letter he sent to President Obama to “oppose his request to continue borrowing and spending recklessly.” In it, he accuses the president of turning the US into “a deadbeat nation.” Given Rubio’s financial and ethical failings, he has absolutely no ground to stand on, and this attack reeks of hypocrisy.
“Before he goes throwing around words like ‘deadbeat,’ perhaps Marco Rubio should take a look at his own record first. After all, we certainly will. The president is working to create jobs; Rubio used the state party credit card to remodel his home; which one is the deadbeat?” said Matt Thornton, spokesman for American Bridge 21st Century.
Rubio Charged Over $100,000 On His Republican Party Of Florida Credit Card Between 2006 – 2008, Mostly For Travel And Meals. According to the St. Petersburg Times, “In 2005, Rubio had access to a new source of campaign money: state GOP credit cards. He charged more than $100,000 from November 2006 to November 2008, much of it for travel expenses and meals. Rubio has insisted that the vast majority of those charges were for GOP business, and he directly paid off any personal expenses, though after a St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald report, Rubio agreed to pay the party $2,400 for plane tickets he said he mistakenly double-billed. He has refused to release his party credit card records from 2005 and 2006. [St. Petersburg Times, 10/22/10]
2010: Rubio’s RPOF Credit Card Usage Led To IRS Investigation. According to the St. Petersburg Times, “The IRS opened the so-called ‘primary’’ investigation into Rubio, the leading Republican candidate for Florida's open U.S. Senate seat, and the two former state GOP officials to see if there's enough evidence to support a full-fledged criminal inquiry, according to a source familiar with the IRS examination… At this stage of the IRS investigation, agents are looking at federal tax records, state financial disclosure forms and other documents to see whether Rubio, [ex-state party chairman Jim] Greer and [ex-party executive director Delmar] Johnson may have personally benefited from using their GOP American Express cards without reporting or paying taxes on additional income.” [St. Petersburg Times, 4/21/10]
- Rubio Denied His RPOF Personal Expenses Counted As “Income”. “Rubio campaign adviser Todd Harris said Tuesday that the former lawmaker from Miami has not been contacted by any federal investigators. ‘There is absolutely nothing to this,’ he said. ‘Anyone who is looking into it or investigating will quickly come to the same conclusion.’… Asked during his campaign bus tour last week if he needed to amend his tax returns to reflect any party money that covered his personal expenses, Rubio said, ‘We don’t believe it’s income. It’s not. . . . Whatever the law is, we’re going to comply, but I don’t think it’s income.’’’ [St. Petersburg Times, 4/21/10]
- Rubio Claimed He Had Not Contacted By Federal Investigators As Of April 2010. “The Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times, citing unnamed sources, reported that investigators are looking into credit card use for a number of GOP leaders in Florida to determine if they were used for personal expenses. Rubio had a party-issued credit card for about four years, while he was an elected official. ‘I have not been contacted and don't know anything about any potential inquiries, but I welcome the chance to set the record straight once and for all,’ Rubio said.” [The Associated Press, 4/21/10]
Former State Party Chairman’s 2012 Corruption Trial Could Reveal Further Details Of Rubio’s RPOF Spending. According to the Miami Herald, “When former Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer goes on trial next year on charges of fraud and money laundering, plenty of prominent politicians might squirm as the inner workings of the party are exposed… Current and former state legislators, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, could see their free-wheeling spending of state party money put back on display.” [Miami Herald, 12/20/11]
Rubio Double-Billed RPOF And Taxpayers For Eight Plane Tickets Worth Nearly $3,000. “U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio admitted Friday that he double-billed state taxpayers and the Republican Party of Florida for eight plane tickets when he was speaker of the Florida House. Calling the billing a mistake, Rubio said in a written statement that he will repay the party about $3,000 to cover the flights because the trips in 2007 were for state business, not politics… He said his travel was arranged by a travel agency and his staff, and that the agency on several occasions applied charges to his party credit card instead of his personal one. Then staffers unknowingly sought reimbursement for the same flights from the state, Rubio said, though he personally signed off on each voucher.” [St. Petersburg Times, 2/27/10]
- Rubio Defended Flight Expenses For His Wife, Calling Her The “First Lady Of The Florida House”. “Rubio also booked six plane tickets for his wife using his GOP credit card. It was unclear how many, if any, of those trips his wife actually took; in some instances, she did not fly and Rubio was credited by the airline. "My wife was the first lady of the Florida House of Representatives, and it is absolutely appropriate for her to accompany me to official events and party functions," Rubio said.” [St. Petersburg Times, 2/25/10]
Rubio’s Dubious RPOF Expenses Included Computer Supplies, Groceries, Car Repairs. “U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio charged grocery bills, repairs to the family minivan and purchases from a wine store less than a mile from his West Miami home to the Republican Party of Florida while he was speaker of the Florida House, according to records obtained by the St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald... Charges covered by the party as political expenses include: $765 at Apple’s online store for ‘computer supplies,’ $25.76 from Everglades Lumber for ‘supplies,’ $53.49 at Winn-Dixie in Miami for ‘food,’ $68.33 at Happy Wine in Miami for ‘beverages’’ and ‘meal,’ $78.10 for two purchases at Farm Stores groceries in suburban Miami, $412 at All Fusion Electronics, a music equipment store in Miami, for ‘supplies.’” [St. Petersburg Times, 2/25/10]
PolitiFact: Rubio “Mostly False” On Claim That RPOF Charges Were Made “With My Money”. “To recap, Rubio said the charges were made with ‘my money.’ […] But the fact that there were purchases that appear to be personal, and were paid for by the Republican Party, undercuts his claim. And although the card was under his name, American Express says that in general -- as long as a cardholder isn't violating the rules set out by the company -- it is the company (in this case the party) that is liable for the charges. And the cardholder (in this case Rubio) won't have his credit rating affected if the bill is not paid on time. So there's little evidence that it was ‘his money,’ but more that it was really the party's. We rate his claim Barely True.” [PolitiFact Florida, 3/11/10]
Republican Consultant Said Rubio Admitting Charging Thousands Of Dollars In Personal Home Remodeling Expenses On RPOF Card.According to the St. Petersburg Times, “a Republican political consultant and former vocal Rubio supporter says Rubio told him he had charged thousands of dollars in home remodeling expenses on his state GOP American Express card. ‘I raised the issue very casually, “Are there any issues you need to worry about that could cause you a problem?” The biggest concern of his was this charge of $4,000 to $5,000 for a kitchen flooring renovation in his house that he said somehow wound up on his (party) credit card,’ said Chris Ingram of Tampa, adding that Rubio assured him he had paid for that charge.” [St. Petersburg Times, 9/24/10]
- Rubio Refused To Answer Direct Questions On His Personal Home Flooring Expenses. “When Marco Rubio sat down with the Times-Union editorial board yesterday, we asked questions about his Republican Party of Florida credit card statements that have been the subject of much speculation… Q: ‘I'd like a yes or no answer. Did you ever use your Republican Party of Florida credit card to purchase flooring for your home?’ A: ‘Look, I've already addressed these credit card questions. The bills came to my home and I always wrote a check for personal expenses.’ Q: ‘But did you ever use the card to purchase flooring for your home?’ A: ‘If there was an accident, any time there was something on there that was personal, I promptly paid out of my own pocket.’” [Florida Times-Union, 9/24/10]
Rubio Charged $10,000 To A Republican Party Of Florida Credit Card For A Family Reunion. “The cost for Marco Rubio's four-day family reunion just north of the Florida-Georgia line: more than $10,000, billed to the Republican Party of Florida. When The Miami Herald and The St. Petersburg Times asked about the charges last month, Rubio blamed his travel agent for mistakenly using his party credit card to reserve the 20 hotel rooms, and said he collected checks from relatives to cover the charges. ‘I paid for the entire personal charge,’ Rubio said in a statement. ‘The Republican Party of Florida never paid for any of it.’” [The Buzz, St. Petersburg Times, 3/23/10]