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. llinmpls

    So he used the company credit card. What's the problem? Why is this news. All seems very straight forward to me, you get a credit card you get to use. You get elected to office you get to vote your self a raise. Why is this an issue? And why is Sarah HotPants not in the news? It's been about 2 days since she was last fighting with a cartoon over humor. This confuses me more than the credit card scam by people that are so rich they could have used their own money.

    February 25, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Carole

    I wonder if he charged the two TELEPROMPTERS he read from at CPAC while he poked fun at the President, like ALL public speakers, like him that use TELEPROMPTERS. He needed TWO TELEPROMPTERS!!!!

    February 25, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    A Republican............doing something underhanded.............during a campaign?????????????????

    Just another rumor fostered by the evil, left-wing media crazies, right GOPers?!

    February 25, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. PEDRO

    Wow, the kind of double talk about his corrupt actions revealed in these credit card statements puts Rubio in an almost W-esq category. Can't wait till these inbred hillbillies here in Florida elect yet another criminally inept Republican to office. Yay, I live in a state full of uneducated, clueless teabaggers!

    February 25, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. Peggy Tx

    Using Government issued Credit card for unauthorized personal purchases certainly speaks loudly of both ones character and one ability to manage their personal finances.

    Rubio is relatively unknown and the facts about his abuse of the credit card should be of interest to voters so divulging this information is quite legitimate. What else is pretty boy Rubio hiding???

    February 25, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Meet me in Amsterdam

    If Neocons like Grover Norquist and Rubio ever take this country over I will go spend my money in a country that doesnt have a severe case of Bipolar Disorder and on the verge of a total melt down,just like 1936 Germany.

    February 25, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. Bob

    GOP fratricide-I love it!!!

    February 25, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. Chad

    The card was actually held in Rubio's name and he paid for all of the charges that were not for party usage. This is a non-story, the real story is the condition of the Crist Campaign.

    February 25, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. th

    Sounds like he is more mad about being caught than anything else.

    February 25, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. hampster

    love it when those idiots called republicans get down and dirty calling one and the other names. Hopefully Rubio and Crist will get so involved calling each other names and accusing the other of wrong doing they will turn all the voters off,. Then a smart democrat can step in and take command.

    February 25, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. ggj

    Is this guy's credit so bad that he can't get a personal card?

    February 25, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Independent_me

    Rubio is a hypocrite!
    The inappropriate use of corporate credit card for personal use is not right.
    What else is he hiding?

    February 25, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. mypitts2

    Who cares who leaked it? Did he make the purchases or not? His answer is confusing. Either way, he should still beat Crist. But he needs to be straight with the people.

    February 25, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. Mountain Dude

    Sounds like Florida needs to get rid of the GOP forever. They cheated their state in the election and every one of the GOP appointees in the state seem to be on the take. If Florida’s AG wasn’t a Republican (who is probably on the take) they would probably already be seeing charges.

    February 25, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. AK steve

    I have a company CC and I would NEVER EVER use it for a personal purchase.

    Leaked document or not, Rubio's CC charges are completely unethical. I wouldn't trust someone who showed such a lack sound judgment.

    February 25, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  16. Lucy, Texas

    Gee, I thought the Repubublican party stood for for fiscal responsibility. Why would the party not want the public to review their expenditures made by their politicians. The big question is that why would you put your personal expenses on your political party's credit card. Are you trying to take off money on income taxes for a political expenitures when it is personal? Surely Rubio has a personal credit card that isn't maxed out? After all, he says he reimbursed the party for all personal charges, so why not just pay his own credit card? If you "do bad", you ought to get spanked hard. Don't be surprised the press is ready to hang up your dirty laundry out to the public.

    February 25, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. Tori

    As usual when 'Barack' does not have an answer or good argument because he must know he is wrong, he insults and ignores the question or real issue. He is disrespectful, condencending, and uses avoidance, instead of addressing the issue respectfully.

    February 25, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. hadelaide

    Another so-called "fiscal conservative" when it is someone else's money. Florida, look long and hard before you choose. Don't be like Virginia and their McDonnell debacle. Where is his proof that he repaid $16,000 for expenditures? If he had that much money to repay, why didn't he use his OWN money in the first place?

    A lipstick on a pig is still a pig; a "fiscal conservative" dressed in teabags is still a borrow and spend liar.

    February 25, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. Florida Gramma

    I wouldn't vote for Charlie Crist under ANY circumstances. Period, End of story.

    February 25, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. Patrick

    typical of the party.

    February 25, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. BeverlyNC

    Governor Crist is a good man who has worked hard for Florida. Rubio must really be desperate to make such ridiculous accusations. Republicans tea baggers are just plain crazy.

    February 25, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. Ronnie

    What a crook! But hen again he is a repukian so being a crook is okay!

    February 25, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. James Slater

    What A CROCK!!!!!!! As usual, the republicans are embarking on a smear campaign...This time,IT"S ONE OF THEIR OWN!!!!!!!!!!!! What FUN to watch!!!!By the way, I'd LOVE to see Crist's cc bills!! Charlie Crist IS NOT the gov of Fl, HE"S BEEN CAMPAIGNING FOR SENATOR SINCE THE DAY HE WAS "ELECTED"!! I am a FL DEMOCRAT, but Monday morn,I am going to go to the voter reg office and change my reg from dem to rep, so I can vote out Crist in the rep Primary!!! GO MARCO RUBIO!!!!!!!

    February 25, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  24. badger

    Sounds like this guy couldn't control his own spending. What would he be like spending federal tax dollars? Another conservative spending someone elses money, and justify it by blaming it on someone else. Hypocrite!!!!!

    February 25, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. Laura, Boston

    I'm not a republican but it seems to me that Rubio was trying to keep this information hidden from the voters of FL.

    This would call into question his honesty and credibility....Also, if he doesn't have proof that Crist did it, he is also slandering Charlie Crist...

    maybe it's time to come clean!!!

    February 25, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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