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Connie Mack preaches penny-pinching, but has a court-record past of debt and liens (and fights)

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.

The story is here.

And here's a list of source documents for the curious:

Download $1,700 late support payment; Mack's $175 overdraft fees

Download $2,160 lien for unpaid condo bills

Download $4,000 Yacht Club Suit

Download $30,000 Charging Lien

Download 2004 taxes paid with loan from Mack's father

Download Mack spends more than he earns

Download Mack accused of strong-arming ex wife, not living in district

Download Banana's club boss, Brian Held, describes Mack arrest

Download Mack describes Banana's arrest

Download Mack describes 2 road-rage incidents

Download Ron Gant describes melee with Mack

Download Mack describes melee with Ron Gant