Congressman Connie Mack has made penny-pinching debt-reduction central to his U.S. Senate campaign, but privately he has struggled at times with borrowing and paying his own obligations, court records show.
Mack sometimes appeared to spend more than he earned, had property liens filed against him, overdrew his bank account and didn’t have enough money to pay his federal income taxes after his 2004 congressional election, according to court records from Fort Myers to Jacksonville to Fort Lauderdale.
His finances aside, the records also show that Mack in his youth got into four confrontations — from an arrest at a nightclub to a bar brawl with a pro baseball player. Later, while in Congress, his estranged wife accused him of not living in his Fort Myers district and of using his influence to strong-arm her during their divorce.
When asked this week if candidates’ private lives should mirror the public policies they advocate, Mack suggested it was fair game.
“What’s important is that we’re all human; everything that makes us human we can be held to account for,” Mack, 45, said. “I don’t think that’s different for me or anybody else.”
As for the brawls, a spokesman later told The Herald that Mack was “young and foolish,” and that the financial troubles and allegations from his ex-wife are fairly typical of “an unfortunate, difficult divorce.”
This week, Mack rapped Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson for having a “do as I say not as I do” attitude because he opposes tax loopholes but has used an agricultural exemption to avoid higher property taxes in Brevard County.
Mack has proposed the “Mack Penny Plan” to trim a cent of every federal dollar spent and advocated for a balanced budget constitutional amendment two weeks ago at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Said Mack: “You can’t spend more than you take in.”
But he’s done just that in the past.
And here's a list of source documents for the curious: