February 25th, 2010
03:34 PM ET
5 years ago

Rubio accuses Crist of 'desperation' after leaked credit card bills

Credit card statements show Rubio charged personal expenses to a GOP credit card.
Credit card statements show Rubio charged personal expenses to a GOP credit card.

(CNN) - Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio accused Gov. Charlie Crist's campaign Wednesday night of leaking his American Express credit card statements to the media, the latest sign the Sunshine State's GOP Senate primary is taking an increasingly divisive turn.

"It is clear these internal documents were taken from the [Republican Party of Florida] by former Chairman Jim Greer, or someone working for him, and were leaked to the media by the Crist Campaign," Rubio said Wednesday in a letter to current RPOF Chairman John Thrasher. "These actions are an appalling act of political desperation."

Greer, a longtime ally of Crist's, resigned his post in January amid criticisms over his management of party money and his involvement in contested primaries. Several of Rubio's backers had called for Greer's resignation for months.

The credit card records, obtained by the St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald, indicate Rubio made several personal purchases with the state party's corporate credit card when he was Florida's House speaker between the years of 2005 to 2008.

A spokesman for Crist did not address Rubio's allegation that their campaign was behind the leaked documents, but said the credit card bills show "a clear pattern is emerging in Speaker Rubio's unfortunate behavior."

"The lobbyist-politician whines and plays the victim while continuing to make every effort to hide the facts surrounding his personal financial gain while in office," said Andrea Saul, Crist's communications director.

The expenses in question included repairs to his family car, items at an Apple Store, grocery bills, and purchases from a wine store close to Rubio's home. In his letter to the state GOP chairman Wednesday, Rubio contends GOP officials fully permitted him to put personal expenses on the card so long as he reimbursed the party for them.

Contending that he reimbursed the party for all his personal expenses, Rubio said he paid the party more than $16,000 for expenditures not related to party business.

"At no time during my four years as a cardholder did the party ask me to provide additional information about, or personally pay, any of the charges I submitted for payment," wrote Rubio. "I always took it upon myself to identify and directly pay American Express for all non-official expenses."

"To the greatest extent possible, I made sure the Party never paid for any personal charges," he added. "In fact, all of my statements were- at least I certainly hope they were- reviewed and approved by former Chairman Jim Greer or others designated by him."

Katie Gordon, a spokesman for the Florida GOP told the Times/Herald that the card is only meant to be used for "business expenses."

Rubio also maintained that he continually "erred on the side of caution," classifying an expenditure as "personal" whenever he was in doubt if the party should pay for it or not. According to Rubio, the party approved more than $109,000 in expenses directly related to his work for the organization.

UPDATE: In a fundraising e-mail to supporters Thursday, Rubio writes that "Charlie Crist and his campaign are incredibly desperate and may well have hit rock bottom."


Filed under: Charlie Crist • Marco Rubio • Popular Posts
soundoff (224 Responses)
  1. El Gordo

    So Rubio's party credit card was used for personal items? I can certainly understand how indignant Rubio is! Someone stole personal information proving that he stole from the Party. I hope the FBI is going to hunt down those thieves who violated Rubio's privacy! How outrageous!

    Is there no honor among thieves? You're only supposed to steal from honest people. It's not fair when one thief steals from another!

    February 25, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. Limbaugh is a liberal

    To paraphrase republican talking points from two years ago back onto them: do you really want leaders who spend so much time and effort ripping apart their own partyn in such underhanded ways? It's good to see the republicans come around on this issue doing exactly the same thing!

    February 25, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. Jay T.

    Yes, it shows desperation, but it also shows Rubio is no different than the other scumbag politicians who use public trust for their own financial benefit.

    February 25, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Maybe the credit card statements were leaked by someone on Rubio's staff who can't stomach his hypocrisy.

    Regardless of who did it – thanks!

    February 25, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. A disgusted former Republican

    Isn't it amusing to watch weasels squirm when when their questionable conduct is brought to light?

    The first question is why did Rubio pay for personal expense on the party's credit card? Why didn't he use his own credit card for these purchases? Rubio should provide documentation that he fully repaid the party for all personal expenses.

    February 25, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  6. ThinkAgain

    Maybe the information was leaked by a Rubio staffer who can no longer stomach Rubio's hypocrisy ... regardless, thanks for doing it!

    February 25, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. John

    Like most conservatives he is a hypocrite!

    February 25, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  8. Colleen

    Blame others for leaking it rather than take responsibility and answer the allegation as to why were you charging personal items on the corporate credit card. wth

    February 25, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    Cheap shot or not...Rubio made false use of his card. Don't play the "victim" Marco...Failin Palin has the market cornered on that

    February 25, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  10. Minnesotan

    Rubio is your typical dirty Republican. But it's still fun to watch them turn on each other like rabid weasels.

    February 25, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. ThinkAgain

    What, he doesn't have his own personal credit cards he can use?

    Or perhaps he's so lousy at finances, budgeting and living within his means all his credit cards are maxed out?

    Or perhaps he's a mooch, sponging off the GOP?

    Or perhaps he's just another Republican hypocrite who says one thing ("I'm for fiscal responsibility!") and does another ("I'm going to rip you off because, hey, it's not my money!")?

    February 25, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. Fresh

    Was Marco really so down on his luck that he needed to use the party credit card? Why not just pay for them yourself at the time of purchase, instead of having to making sure "to the greatest extent possible" that he reimbursed the party? Did you forget your wallet, and just happened to have the party's card on had at the wine store near your home?

    February 25, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. Hugo

    I'm sure Crist has a safe and solid alibi, he was at home in his closet...

    February 25, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. J.P.

    *THIS* is the best Crist has???

    Desperate much?

    February 25, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "These actions are an appalling act of political desperation."
    ------------------------------–

    They are no such thing Rubio. They are, assuming your accusation is correct, STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES in the world of politics little boy. And REQUIRED OPERATING PROCEDURES for Republicans trying to get elected.

    I'm cool with Crist. He strikes me as more of a "man" than you and your two-face party rhetoric. Grow up, suck it up, and send me an e-mail telling me how it feels to slime and BE SLIMED!!!

    February 25, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I wouldn't call this a leak, it's never a leak when Rubio or anyone else abuse and use power to steal from tax payers. It should have been reported by Rubio himself instead of hiding something that he knowingly stole. It's never a leak when it comes to tax payers money.

    February 25, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. FL Independent

    The "desperation" is Rubio pandering to the Tea Partiers.

    February 25, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. Tom in Va

    AH Yes.....

    Rubio..the"new" face of the GOP. New boss same... as the old boss

    February 25, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. Sniffit

    Who really cares how we found out? We should be glad we did. The guy apparently thinks the peoples' tax money is his to spend ON HIMSELF if he so chooses. Chalk it up to more GOPer hypocrisy and vote for him anyway OR grow a pair, put down the partisan toys and recognize he's just another self-centered egotistical corporatist in coservative clothing. Choose.

    February 25, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. Ben in Texas

    A clear history of Rubio's corruption, before he even gets the nomination, and all he can do is blame the Crist campaign. This is what turns people off, when politicians get caught with their fingers in the cookie jar, and they immediately look for somebody else to blame.

    A real man (which Rubio is not) would take personal responsibility.

    February 25, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. Jane/Seattle

    Put this on the WWE!

    February 25, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  22. Thank you Massachusetts

    Crist's spokesman addresses Rubio's clear pattern of "unfortunate behavior"? Isn't Rubio planning on replacing Crist because of Crist's clear pattern of unfortunate behavior as a RINO?

    February 25, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Been saying it all along, the Republican Civil war is on!

    "A house divided can not stand."

    February 25, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  24. The real truth from Chicago

    Republicans sure are crooked arn't they? They lie, cheat, steal and have no shame whatsoever. Their base and the Tea party nuts may allow themselves to be fooled by a party that has nor morals or values which they claim to have. They have been caught soliciting sex, adultry, running up massive deficits, torture, fiscal mismanagement, lying again, racists, hateful, hypocritical and completly untrustworthy. and, any person out there who supports this hypocritical party with all its ills must be engaged in this same type of behavior as well. And they call Dems traitors. Conservatives are the biggest traitors this country has ever known.

    February 25, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. FactCheck

    The male Sarah Palin... no doubt the teabaggers are going crazy over this guy, he fits right in as he is in it only for himself and his bank account.

    February 25, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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