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. amy

    ohhhhhhhhh, poor baby...........

    February 25, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Pete

    Typical Republicans. When caught enriching themselves on the public dime, instead of simply apologizing, they condemn the whistleblower. Guess that's why not a single Republican ever apologized for the no WMD found in Iraq thing.

    February 25, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Twinko

    Hey, who took my Twinkies??

    February 25, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Scott Davis

    So I'm guessing the argument that being 'desperate' is somehow worse than being crooked.

    As in, "Look, my opponent is pointing out what a crook I am, he must be desperate!"

    February 25, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. Jack

    Love to see those idiot repubs tearing each other apart!

    February 25, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. barb

    Before my retirement, I reviewed submitted expenses by accountants. Even the most educated try to get away with fancy dancing when it comes to getting something for nothing. It is no less than laughable to think that Rubio didn't have his own personal credit card that he could use for personal expenses. My thoughts are that, if he reimbursed the party for the improper expenses, it was ONLY because he was CAUGHT doing something he should not have been doing. And it was more than $16,000!!!! Good luck Rubio trying to skirt this one.

    I don't care who brought this to light. Thank God someone did!

    February 25, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. Crazy Harry

    Hard to believe a person from the party of values and principles would do anything wrong.

    NOT!

    February 25, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. Dave

    So he objects to the leak by the Crist campaign, but not to the misuse of the republican party credit card for personal use, is that about it? If Floridians elect this guy, they deserve everything they get, a thief who stole money that wasn't his!!!

    February 25, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. Dano

    What a typical politician response. Rubio attacks Crist for allegedly leaking the info, while the fact that he used the GOP credit card for personal expenses is swept under the rug.

    February 25, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. rosslaw

    A Republican politician misusing funds for his own personal benefit! This is the biggest story to hit since the "gambling at Rick's" story broke in Casablanca.

    February 25, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. Ben Farleigh

    Greer sounds like a democrap, always trying to destroy another person's reputation with half-truths.

    February 25, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. A. Goodwin

    Wow, wish my credit card limit was that high. GOP's eating their own and I'm lovin' it!

    February 25, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. E

    so people should ignore his wrongful purchases, using these funds for personal things, because of an unfounded accusation that the big meanies leaked his secret credit card records?

    February 25, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. Joe

    These politicians are all the same. They milk the system for all they can get. Even though they have lots of money. Why not? They usually get away with it. Then they want to deny health care and other benefits to those who truly do not have anything.....

    February 25, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. HJA

    So what's new. You look and both parties and you'll see that their bank accounts are like a piggy bank. These people live high and mighty on the cash they take in. Corporations know this that's why they dump so much cash on them. Lobby if you want but when cash changes hands it's a bribe. Make your opinion known but a payoff is treason against the American people. And please let me give my thanks to the Supreme Court of Political Flunkys. ChaChing$$$$$$

    February 25, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. nipp

    I'm cubanamerican,I know this 'Rubio" guy very well,a big spender,taking taxpayer money to fight against Castro goverment( who cares?) and put in jeopardy our already damaged foreign policy.He just want the money anticommunist /Castrocampaigns,spending in Cubanamericans organizations and subversive media.Also spending money to aprove a legal status(social assistance,socsecnumbers,food stamps,Medicaid,etc etc etc) for every single cuban wetback or arrives to the shore in boats to the coast of Florida Sate. Please Floridians wake up!!!,don't vote for this "Rubio means Blond".

    February 25, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    This simply shows there are no honest politicians, anywhere.

    February 25, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Norm

    Yes...both parties are criminals.
    This is a fine example of our government at work.
    How long can we let this go on.

    February 25, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. Ethan

    Someone's desperate alright.

    Attacking Crist is an admission by Rubio that these credit card purchases are politically damaging to Rubio's campaign.

    Rubio is the TYPICAL lying Republican and he needs to be thoroughly investigated for his time as the Florida Speaker of the House. He's no 'ordinary guy,' he is a TYPICAL CAREER REPUBLICAN POLITICIAN.

    February 25, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. Shelly

    Rubio is creepy.

    February 25, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. Edsyl

    Wow! A Republican who cheated his own cronies instead of the American people! How low can you stoop?

    February 25, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Len Weller

    Why didn't he use his own card; it doesn't make sense to use a business card, reinburse it unless the GOP needed the AMEX reward points.

    February 25, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. Cynthia

    This crook rubio is just like all those other conservative republicians, he's no different and he won't get close to beating Gov Crist. They are all crooks they only care about what they can get by stealing and lying to the american people.

    February 25, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. Kathleen

    wHAT IS RUBIO'S STANCE ON continuing Medicare, S.S. and Health
    Care Reform? Unemployment Extensions? I suppose many MILLIONS of Dollars will be spent by CORPORATIONS to make Marcus Rubio look like a saint. NO NO NO NO.

    I would not believe a WORD that this man says! NOR his friends!
    In order to become such a Republican that is OK'd to speak
    at the Republican CPAC convention, you got to be AGAINST
    all entitlements and FOR the EXTENSION of TAX CUTS FOR
    the Rich, which, I believe, passed "quickly" under BUSH'S
    RECONCILATION! If the Republican's win, we the Middle Class
    LOSE!! And, oh, I almost forgot, thanks to the UNGRATEFUL
    TO TED KENNEDY FOR ALL HIS WORK GETTING YOU HEALTH
    CARE FOR ALL! Thanks Massachusetts, for you disloyalty to the
    Kennedy family!!! YOU GOT HEALTH CARE AND OUR CHILDREN
    and GRANDCHILDREN DO NOT!

    Scott Brown, rode in on a RED TRUCK and you people fell for it!!!!

    February 25, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. carol disario

    It's all corruption and hypocrital with these politicians spending money that's not theirs like they spend our taxpayer money leaving the state of Fla in the shape it's in. It's finally time it's all investigated by these old repulblican thieves. They surely have made their millions!!! Let's get some honest new blood in office and get this state back to honest governing.

    February 25, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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