February 25th, 2010
03:34 PM ET
4 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. D.Blue

    Florida LEGISLATIVE Republicans have been using the Florida GOP partys credit cards like drunken sailors.

    February 25, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Spend your own money Marco and stop running up the states debt with personal purchases. This isn't desperate. This is fact!!! Deny it.

    February 25, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. David

    Republicans are such hipocrites "the party of no" = "the party of me"!

    February 25, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    who cares. The republicans definitely act like children. They will eat their own young if they were in the way. Just pitiful. Exactly how they treat our President. Just no respect for anyone against them and the GOP hypocrisy

    February 25, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. I voted Obama! And will do it again!

    If the guy paid the AMEX without being asked I don't see the problem.

    February 25, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. Doraine Gordon

    Regardless of who leaked what doesn't make any difference. It is good for the people to find out what kind of person they are looking at for the Senate. I think it is good we found out before we vote to send this guy to Washington. It proves my point that he and DeMint are just alike. Not to be trusted.

    February 25, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. Jeff in Virginia

    Lets get this straight.

    Rubio is a typical government hating tea-bagger. He hates taxpayers.

    Do you honestly think that he would not sap the taxpayer?

    February 25, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. Micah

    And I'm certain that if Rubio's campaign finds something damaging to use against Crist, they will politely hide it away in the vault and make sure it never sees daylight. Right. Instead of blaming Crist for this, why doesn't Rubio man up and explain it? Oh, I forgot. He's Republican...never his fault.

    February 25, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    When Rubio (rhymes with Boobio) violates his sworn duty to the citizens of Florida, he needs to be called on it. Instead, he acts like child with his hand in the cookie jar.

    February 25, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. Pissed off Tea Bagger

    It's the state's card, NOT YOURS!! Get your own dam AMEX and make that mandatory monthly payment. It's not up to you Mr. Rubio to determine if you "erred on the side of caution." It's the taxpayers card. Can I borrow and run up some bills of my own since it's ours. While you were out on your grand shopping spree of 109k, people in your state are suffering. You're dispicable. And you call yourself a conservative? You just lost my vote.

    February 25, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. Joseph

    That Rubio is such a conservative.. If he's a Rep, the chances are he's a hypocrite.

    February 25, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. a health economist

    Must be nice to be able to pay for personal expenses with a company card and just claim it as "personal expense". I don't have that luxury. If I have a personal expense, I have to use my personal cards, which is completely appropriate.

    February 25, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Randy

    So what, Rubio doesn't have a Visa/Mastercard of his own? Can't he get credit? Is he a bad credit risk?

    If he forgot his own cards and made a purchase using the GOP card, sure, that could happen. If he has nothing to fear then explain it to the people and move on. The critic in me says he's probably in the wrong and using the card as a free bank account. Did he pay interest on these loans?

    February 25, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. ErnieBoy

    How can we get healthcare reform when the Republicans made a pact among themselves not to pass any program proposed by President Obama or the democrats? This is pretty common knowledge to all of us that are in the lower income groups that really hasn't got any representation in Washington. Imagine!! We can't afford health insurance so if we don't buy it anyway, the IRS will fine us. How are they going to get what we don't have to start with? This is really two gripes in one blog. Feel free to edit.

    February 25, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. ELmo

    I think it's good to release any information on a candidate for public office that can give the electorate an idea of the character and ideology of the candidate.
    Let's start with the PRESIDENT!! Let's get the SEALS off of his background and find out what he is trying to hide from the people who elected him to the highest office in our land.
    ELmo

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

    Sooooooo....... you're not apologizing for what you did, you're blaming the other guy because you got caught?

    Typical. Sad, but typical.

    February 25, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    So – he learned in SC how to sneak and get a look into another person's private information. Now we know just how sneaky and intrusive those guys really are.

    February 25, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Me

    Another attempt at trying to slander another party with information that you do not have all the i's dotted and the t's crossed.

    Until anyone can prove that those records are false – simply showing the bill it's self is meaningless AND in poor taste.

    However I will sit back and wait to see the people that take this to the extreme and believe everything that is written.

    "news" now a days is more like gossip and you have to read 100 articles and piece together truth. Journalism is becoming a joke.

    February 25, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. CC

    This says a lot about Rubio. Even if he did pay the party back, the card is clearly for business expenses. It shows that Rubio has no respect for ethical boundaries when it comes to personal convenience. And that is the best case scenario. If he didn't pay the party back, it shows he is a thief, willing to rob contributors. Do you think it would be any different with tax-payers' dollars?

    Either way, loose spending is a terrible thing for a tea party candidate. It completely flies in the face of their limited-spending message.

    Whoever leaked the credit card bills is doing Florida's citizens a service.

    February 25, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  20. virginia nielsen

    This guy is an empty "store manequim"!!! He's been supported by the "cukos" and right wings !!! No use for him !!! Go Christ !!!

    February 25, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  21. Mike in Dallas

    "Contending that he reimbursed the party for all his personal expenses"

    Why not pay directly or with his own credit card(s) if planning to pay for it personally?

    Could it be that he was spending above the credit limits on his own cards. Could it be that his own credit rating kept him from obtaining credit card limits sufficient to maintain his lifestyle? Or could it be that he either didn't reimburse the charges as he claims or at least didn't intend to reimburse them at the time?

    His actions raise many questions.

    February 25, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. Hows that nonunion made Toyota workin for ya?

    Rubio dreams of being Cubas President someday and opening his own casino.I wonder whos filling his bag with money?

    February 25, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  23. Scott

    I sense some fancy wordsmithing here in Rubio's explanation as to his charging personal expenses to a state monitored business card. Technically, I find it hard to believe that Rubio does not carry a personal credit card to cover personal expenses. In fact, you would think he would be interested in accruing membership dividends on his personal card, especially if he indeed had the funds to reimburse his personal expenses each month. I smell a huge rat and cover up of expense management abuse. Any employee would be fired for having done something like this.

    February 25, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. vigour

    Republicans eating themselves....

    before they eat the rest of us...

    February 25, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. DS

    Leave it the conservative candiate, the Family Values Guy, to do something like this. I suppose if he had not engaged in illegal or unethical practices, he woudn't be in the position, would he.

    February 25, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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