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. Maura, IN

    The qustion still remains, is Christ right? If Rubio is using taxpayer dollars to cut his hair, then he needs to address that issue, not try to change the subject.

    February 25, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Ohio Dem

    This is a stupid story. I am allowed to make personal charges on my corporate card as long as I reimburse my company. That is how most businesses work. Unless there was something he tried to "scoot" through, which I don't see here, there IS no issue. This is a waste of my reading time!

    February 25, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. Peter

    How is this desperation? If Rubio inappropriately used government credit cards, don't voters have a right to know about it? Doesn't this reflect on Rubio's character?

    February 25, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. U.S. Common Sense

    Most companies that provide a credit card (usually if the employee travels on company business) allow the employee to use it for personal use as well. Since the company only pays for work-related expenses, the remaining balance falls on the shoulders of the employee to pay off. American Express is the card of choice, and since the balance has to be paid at the end of each month (otherwise, you get hit with a big fee), these charges are addressed quickly.

    This sounds like a non-issue in the Rubio case, unless there are clearly charges that were of personal nature that the party was paying for.

    February 25, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |

    Well Rubio is you was an honest man.. You wouldn't have anything that someone had to leak to the Media..

    February 25, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. BoughtAndPaidFor

    Yep, yet another "honest" politician. Who has ever had a company card and been told it is okay to put personal expenses on th card. If by accident once okay, notify supervisor otherwise you get terminated. Use it for anything clearly personal (alcohol/grocery purcahse) terminated. I wish the congress was ran more like a business so these self serviing fools knew what it was like in the real world. Take advantage of your position/status against the rules. Your fired and black listed to never get that job again. That is unless you are a CEO of a major company then well you were just lining the pockets of the politicians and it is okay. Oh well, unless all public/private financing is removed from these fools this will continue to happen again and again. THey clearly have learned the "Royal we" when describing the current hardships. Their we means you and I will pay for it while "we" (the political elite and incompetent, and unethical) will prosper and profit.

    February 25, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Marty, FL

    If Rubio were truly a so-called "fiscal conservative" (he's not), Rubio would have released the credit card records himself and have nothing to hide.

    These records show why Rubio has been silent on the openness request from FL media. It's about time Floridians see the real Rubio.

    February 25, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. Lori in St Pete

    Considering rubio's the protoge of disgraced RPOF leader ray sansom, this isn't surprising. Dig a little deeper St Pete Times! There's a story here. And test his IQ – that's an even bigger story!

    February 25, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. Debbie

    Rubio spending the peoples money is significant. Being permitted and granted approved expenses does not make it right. That means the GOP is spending my tax dollars on Rubio's wine and car maintenance.

    February 25, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. ralph patterson

    Double standards and liars all of the so called conservatives. Rubio knew that the card should not be used for any thing personal including purchases from a liquor store. If he cannot recognize the difference why would people want him to represent them. The guy is an ideologue without any feelings for the common man. His ideas should be totaly rejected and he should be ashamed of himself.

    February 25, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. dale

    Just more do as I say not as I do Republican bull. When is this state going to wake up.

    February 25, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Jerry

    The real story here is Pelosi charges to tax payers, Where's the story

    February 25, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Danny E. Gonzalez

    Having a politician with an official party credit card can be dangerous... there is a level of responsibility that is expected when using a business card... perhaps Mr. Rubio abused that responsibility. in any case it raises the issue of trust from the American people as to how he conducts business and can he be trusted with the publics credit card?

    February 25, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. Funny Logic

    If I buy personal stuffs using my company credit card, I will be fired. Guess what, I am not a politican.

    February 25, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. Jim

    Crist is desperate! Marco Rubio is very popular with his fellow republicans. Crist is the one who goes around giving hugs to Mr. Obama!

    February 25, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Greg K., PA

    Is his credit so bad that he can't get his own credit cards? I don't understand why he would even go through the headache of all the paperwork involved with reimbursements when he could just as easily get his own credit card.

    February 25, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. Marcus

    Even a "dummy" knows not to mix business expenses with personal ones.
    He thought he could get away with it, otherwise, he would have reimbursed the GOP when the payment was made on the card.

    Some people think that they are above the law. That is what you get when you have a big head upstairs because you aree lacking in other departments...

    February 25, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Isn't that illegal if they were not handed to Crist by Rubio?
    I am not in favor of Rubio, but this sort of politcs must stop.

    February 25, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Grog in Ohio

    Rather than being concerned about who leaked the records, shouldn't Mr. Rubio be working to explain why he has essentially stolen from the Florida Republican Party coffers?

    Just wondering...

    February 25, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. Sadie

    Robio is just another lying republican, just as crooked as the rest of them......I hope they nail him to the ground on this one.......no matter who leaked the Credit card statement if he was using it for personal reasons he needs to held accountable......

    February 25, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. Republicans is smart in the head area

    Amazing. Acting indignant that someone caught you breaking the law. No wonder he's considered a rising star in the Republican party.

    February 25, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Teri

    I have a company credit card and can use it for personal purchases as long as I pay for them myself and don't expense them. I don't see any problem with this as long as he was paying for the repairs and the wine out of his own pocket when the bill came due.

    February 25, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. Sean

    Another ROTTEN politician! He knew that card was for business only. Period. He should have used his own credit card for all his personal stuff. That would have eliminated all doubts and concerns.

    February 25, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. Chris

    No-one cares anymore how the information is obtained......run your Governmental processes with full disclosure. If you decide to purchase items with our money that you dont want disclosed to the public maybe you shouldn't have billed us in the first place.

    February 25, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  25. Anne

    Looks like Rubio is just another crooked politician! I also love that he's mad at the messenger.

    February 25, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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