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. No Incumbents 2010

    Public service is supposed to be about serving the public, not lining one's pockets. Rubio enriched himself from his "public service". There would have been no other reason for him to charge his admittedly personal expenses to his officeholder credit card, other than the fact that he used his officeholder card to pay for personal expenses. There was no "reimbursement". Otherwise he would have simply used one of his personal cards for personal expenses. Looks like Rubio represents the same old corrupt politics as usual.

    February 25, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. john

    okay...so crist is a bum for leaking it, we all agree...now with that behind us, why don't you now explain your actions, rubio....classic childish move...as opposed to "manning" up and taking responsibility for what you have done wrong, you blame the person that outed you...kind of like a confessed killer complaining about the police officer that found the weapon he used...give me a break...

    February 25, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Bubba

    . . . so donate more money to the GOP, kids! We'll spend it wisely. Wink, wink.

    February 25, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. john

    better yet, that would be like Tiger Woods getting mad at his wife for finding out he was cheating...be a man about yours, rubio

    February 25, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. MonasteryMonkey

    Here we go again. Apparently politicians never learn. Another rising star accused of unethical behavior. If Rubio can't differentiate between a legitimate business expense and a personal one who would want him in elected office?

    Are their genes programed to behave in such a manner? It certainly seems so.

    February 25, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Susan

    Rubio: a hypocrite, a true republican

    February 25, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. David

    Why he is a typical repukelican.

    February 25, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. Mr. Tickedoff

    Where's there is smoke there is what??? I hope people use their common sense when voting.

    February 25, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Citizen from Colorado

    Republican hypocrisy strikes again. Overspend, then lament the deficit and blame someone else. Cheat, then lie. Cry how good, how American and how Christian they are, then work hard to destroy our government, blame everyone else for their problems, and break every rule of decency in the name of personal gain, greed and selfishness.

    February 25, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. NVa Native

    So Rubio is a hypocrite – where's the problem?
    Just proves Rubio is the typical teabagger.

    February 25, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. mike

    "To the greatest extent possible, I made sure the Party never paid for any personal charges"

    How about not using the card at all for personal items, you creep

    February 25, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. phillip

    I work for a major corporation and we issue American Express cards to our employees for "business expenses" only also. It is a rare employee that does not use the card for personal purchases. I also know of Federal Government employees that use their US government credit card for personal purchase. This is a lame attempt by the Crist campaign and the old boy network of the Florida GOP to smear a viable contender for US Senate. Let the public see all the finacial documents of the Florida GOP then we can decide who is telling the truth.

    February 25, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Tom in Delaware

    This is nearly as important as when Obama finally paid off all his overdue Cambridge parking tickets (17 years) two weeks before he ran for president.

    February 25, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. hayden zeke

    Interest free loans. Got it.

    February 25, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. Nan

    Florida has gone to heck in a hand basket under the Republicans – neither one of these gentlemen deserve a Senate seat.

    February 25, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. j

    Let the mud fly ----- I love it

    February 25, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. John

    So why didn't he use his own credit card? I guess we should not be surprised to hear that any public official is a crook. It's no wonder that American people don't have any confidence in our government. We might as well let the prisons run the country. Criminals or politicians – they're all innocent, right?

    February 25, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Prospering Pete

    Why would he use that card over a personal card I wonder?

    February 25, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. richard

    I say all the Democrats should vote for Criss so we can keep a moderate in the Senate instead of a conservative.

    February 25, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. Dieter Zerressen

    These fiscal conservatives pretty much always charge their personal expenses to either the tax payer or to their party; never to themselves. Whether it's this clown, or Michael Steele, or Sarah Palin, they all think that someone else should be paying the tab. Hypocrits all.

    February 25, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. Melody Todd

    I am sooo glad to see the Democrats take a stand against the Republicans on Health Care. The reports of the American People not supporting the Health Care Option is totaly wrong. TOO many people have had bad experiences with the insurance industry. It is always clear that Republicans are ALWAYS for big business and in support of those greasing their palms. My family and I all agree that a SINGLE PAYOR plan is best but the option is better than nothing. It will cut down on the expensive perks given to the Insurance Industry CEOs and other executives at our expense. I believe the health care option is affordable and it allows for the competition the Republicans demand. If the health care option is not passed it is my hope that ERIC CANTOR and his beloved Republicans loose their precious insurance so I DO NOT have to pay for him and his family since I am helping to pay for the wonderful insurance he has and I can not afford the same insurance for my family.

    February 25, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. silence dogoode

    The best defence for this is the truth... show us where you paid for your personal things Rubio....crickets....thought so....

    February 25, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  23. Scott in Atlanta

    Ummmm. Was he stealing or not?

    February 25, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. Jay

    wait wait wait....this guy is mad because he did something he knew was wrong and got caught? Maybe I should go rob a bank and just say I wanted all my tax money they got back...

    February 25, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Davivd Dee

    I guess the 11th commandment is out the window. "Thow shall not critisize a fellow Reublican"

    February 25, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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