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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/18/art.rubio.cpac.gi.jpg caption="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. Irisdavenportt

    Caught, Caught, Caught.

    This goes to the heart of Rubio's campaign. As a tea party candidate Rubio claims to be a strong Fiscal conservative. If he goes around using the people's money to finance his personal lifestyle then that undercuts his argument regarding fiscal responsibility. Even if he reimbursed the tax payer's, it still shows that he used taxpayer dollars inappropriately, even if it is the custom.

    You can not use tax payer's money as a float and still say that you stand as a strong fiscal conservative. IT shows that you have a lack of discipline.

    February 25, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Jerry

    Politics 101: When caught red-handed, blame the messenger.

    February 25, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Justen in Florida

    Now, before everyone comes out to bash Rubio... try reading the Miami newspaper article, pretty easy to see who the paper is rooting for, but more importantly, it also says that every charge he made, was either for official buisness, or, paid in full by Rubio by the time he left office.

    So, just another political hit job, not much to see here, move along...

    February 25, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. sandra schultz

    Once again efforts for bipartinship has failed. Doesn't the Republicans and the Democrats realize it isn't about the good ole party, but the American people without health care. It scares me to think we will be without Medicare in the next 8 years if something doesn't get solved. It looks like to me Hell will freeze over first.

    By the way, how did the car insurance bill get passed that requires everyone to have it????

    February 25, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Ryan

    And this is why when the GOP gets high and mighty about fiscal responsibility and transparency... all I hear is white noise. Literally.

    February 25, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. carlos

    what did he purchase?.....tickets to argentina?????????...these repugnants, all of themmmmmmm

    February 25, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. normajean

    Desperation is the name of the game at this point,isn't it?The politicians in any battle now in progress are in that state, because I think they have finally realized that there is no easy way to get anything done and it's all going to be a fight to the finish. I do believe however ,that when the votes are all counted in the next election, that the Repubs are in for a bit of a surprise. Just maybe, the voters have been taking in all this horse play and want to get things done,so will vote accordingly.

    February 25, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. diridi

    who is this mexican dude? No brain?

    February 25, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. Lessa Howell

    I work two jobs, 5 maybe 6 days a week and I do not have health insurance. I went to the Medicaid office they say I don't qualify (get paid too much money lol) and yet i can't afford normal health insurance. I don't smoke, I don't drink , my eyesight is getting worse and i can't just walk into a doctor's office to get my prescription fill so what do I do. Please Members off congress can't you put yourselves in our shoes for a moment and see that most of us don't really care about your rhetoric; all we care about is getting this issue of health care reform solved so working people like myself can get coverage.

    February 25, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. welches, oregon

    just like a GOP politician – accuse the other of wrong doing to cover up your own illegal actions. The American people are AWAKE – if these 'politicians' think they can get away with the same old tired tactics they've used for years, they'd better think again.

    February 25, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  11. Marie MD

    rubio get a life. You are a nobody from nowhere seeking votes for political office to do nothing for your people.

    February 25, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. ray

    these wignuts on the right would get away with amy and every thing if people dont call them out. the governer is right to show how this rube is using our tax payers money to have a good time.

    February 25, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. Seawife

    Let's fact it. Politics ...a dirty profession.
    It seems whomever lies the most wins. What does that teach our country.

    February 25, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. Whatever Barry

    Barry, you don't get. You had a chance and nothing has been accomplished, other than to go back on EVERY campaign promise you made. You have not led this country towards better days, but pushed us further down the hole.

    February 25, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. Kate in San Diego

    I love to watch republican infighting.

    February 25, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Where do the Repulicans dig up these clowns?"

    There's no digging involved. These guys are really synthetic talking-point droids hatched in an underground laboratory buried somewhere in Utah. Just over the past couple years they figured out how to mess with their robot skin tone, so that's where Mushmouth came from.

    February 25, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. Joe

    Here we go, another neo Nucklehead ,Why use money that doesnt belong to you then you have to defind it . This guys not so smart but he is running in Florida says it all doesnt it .

    February 25, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. dg

    obama cannot handle the truth that the american people do not want his crap, but he still insists on ramming it in

    February 25, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Isn't that illegal if they were not handed to Crist by Rubio?"

    No. I would imagine that because the credit card belonged to the state, so to speak, all invoices, statements and other records of usage were public records easily accessible through the Freedom of Information Act.

    February 25, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "Exposing the truth is now called "desperation"? Hmmm....that's a new one."

    It gets even better. Newtered compared reconciliation...i.e., 51% simple majority-rules democracy...to Hugo Chavez style socialism this week. Mehinks they're starting to come a little more unhinged and their tinfoil hats are starting to overheat.

    February 25, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  21. Steve (the real one)

    A house divided can not stand."
    Agreed. Just like the liberal dems vs the blue dog dems, eh?

    February 25, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  22. Independent One

    I will donate to Crist

    February 25, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. Hi I'm TriG, and my mommy scares me :-(

    @Whatever Barry

    Eveything you just said can be disproven with FACTS.

    You fail sir. Miserably.

    February 25, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. dready1rasta

    @dg.....the subject is Misuse of a Fla.state credit card by Rubio...not the President.....give it a rest....you people are becoming so monotonous.

    February 25, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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