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)

    Well, if I ever had any doubts about Charlie Crist, they've been resolved. His campaign is a slur machine and he fits right in with the tyoical Washington scum. I wouldn't vote for him under any circumstances, for anything, anytime.

    February 25, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  2. Aspen Professor

    Yes, by all means, hide the truth! Do not reveal any negatives abut the Republicans! It won't leave any time or space about the positives(?)

    February 25, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. Frozone

    Rubio sounds like a Fiscal Conservative In Name Only.

    February 25, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. Russell

    There you go people , typical lying politician say one thing but behind closed doors and he's stealing your money while your not looking , Rubio is no didfernt from anyone , a misuse of public funds if I didn't know better that's a crime , but we have retards in this country that still want to vote republican...........WAKE UP PEOPLE YOU CANNOT TRUST REPUBLICANS , IF YOU VOTE FOR RUBIO YOU'LL DEFINITELY GET MORE OF THE SAME .......A THEIF !

    February 25, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. Fooled Again

    neo con.........

    February 25, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. Wisconsonite - End the Anti-Trust Exemption for Insurance Companies!

    Funny, I don't see the problem being who "leaked" the information so much as the INFORMATION itself. I see this as just another example of Conservative lies. They talk-the-talk about fiscal responsibility but so many of them don't walk-the-walk.

    February 25, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |

    It doesn't matter really, who leaked what. The fact is, it's a 'missappropriation of funds' and he's still a hypocrit.

    And he can't change the fact that he's a former Lobbyist and a Rethuglican't, BOTH strikes against him here IN Florida.

    We are leaving the Pisean Age, and we are seeing the hypocrisies of politics, religion, social status, etc. The veils are coming down. That's why the GOP can so blatently lie to our faces, while laughing behind our backs.

    That's why the Tea-Baggers are so confused about what is happening to their way of life.

    None of them understand that this nation has changed. We've EVOLVED. We are a melting-pot of the world. We are a country where we are all supposed to be able to live in harmony with each other.

    With Twitter, 24-Hour News, Cell-Phones, etc. ALL the politicians should know they won't be able to get away with anything. Even if MassMedia tries to keep it under wraps, it's still going viral on the internet.

    February 25, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. TN_Patriot

    Looks like Rubio got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and is trying to shift attention away from his own wrongdoings. Was this his way of showing the GOP in Washington that he was capable of being as big a crook as most of them?

    February 25, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. Terry - Indiana

    Yup, the average voter in Florida can relate to $109,000 in expenses, doing work for the Republican Party. I am more concerned with Rubio's use of a Corporate Credit Card for personal items in the amount of $16,000 for items at his home. There may be personal tax considerations, if he indeed failed to immediately repay the funds used for personal items. Further review of actual payments to American Express are now warranted.

    February 25, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. Richey Smith

    Real simple–why didn't he have his own personal card? I would not allow our employees to do that and we are a private company.

    February 25, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. Robin in Tampa, FL

    Charlie Crist didn't force you to charge personal expenses to the GOP's credit card, you did that yourself Mr. Rubio

    February 25, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. Dr. Ed Holmes

    Marco Rubio is dishonest and I will vote for the Democrat in the general election if Gov. Crist loses the primary. Gov. Crist has been a great govenor, where Rubio panders to the uneducated, redneck, teabagger crowd in Florida.

    February 25, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. Jim

    Just like all Republicans Rubio talks a good game but cannot back it up. where do they it these clowns from?

    February 25, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Charles

    As long as he repaid the charges (on time) I don't think it's that big of a deal. But I think it does call into question his judgment on some level. There's a reason you don't put personal charges on a company business card. It's because you don't want to risk even the appearance of impropriety. I would think that rule would be stressed even more for something public like the state party's card.

    February 25, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. martin

    Gov. Crist is showing he's going to play desperate politics to try to bring down Rubio's poll numbers. If he can't, he's going to try to run as an independent.


    February 25, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |

    Wingnut alert. Always follow the money. Maybe his buddy,Sarah Palin will vouch for him

    February 25, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. jules sand-perkins

    I believe that Rubio did exactly as he said he did.
    When provided with a credit card by a client or an employer, it is not to one's advantage to be dishonest about its use.

    February 25, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. Jim

    Rubio, you are like your fellow Republicans. You have been exposed. Now stop telling us these lame stories about your life.

    Where do the Repulicans dig up these clowns?

    February 25, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. The Other Michael in Houston

    Yeah but the fact remains Rubio that you violated the rules. The card is for buisness purposes only. Come on Rubio, if you steal a car from a car lot and then turn around and show upp a few days later with a check in hand stating that you are here to pay for the car you stole, it is still theft. I hate people that try to rationalize their stupidity.

    February 25, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. Ckmof

    Did Rubio not have his own personal credit card to use for his own personal expenses? Never mix business transactions with personal transactions.

    February 25, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. Jacq


    February 25, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. Jon

    Sounds to me like neither of these guys are fit for public office.

    February 25, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. Dave

    Do we have any honest politicians left?

    February 25, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. RTB

    I am not surprised.

    Poor Rubio got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

    So typical of these right wingers yelling all over town about fiscal responsibility – than behind the scenes rip off whatever one can.

    February 25, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. sd

    As a resident of miami i can attest that Rubio is a moron and my dyed in the wool republican husband agrees.

    February 25, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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