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. Jack Fl

    Party spokesperson says "for business purposes only", then why are personal charges on there? I smell fish!

    February 25, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. Disenchanted Voter

    How futile the Democratic Party in Florida must be that they can't capitalize on this bloodbath within the Republican Party. This race is still "Likely Republican" or "Safe Republican." Pathetic.

    February 25, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Minnesota gal

    These are the things that should be made public. I am not a republican, but it seems to me that if a republican (or democrat) was running for office and had illegally used states money they should be held accountable. What was done about this. Jefferson lost his job. One republican went to jail that I know of. So they are going to let this guy stand up to be elected in Florida. Boy they must be more corrupt than Alaska.

    February 25, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Big Ed

    If Rubio treated his credit card the way he was supposed to, there is no issue. C'mon Rubio, put your big boy pants on and quit your crying! You're busted!

    February 25, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. the Republicanische Bund are ALL criminals

    GOTCHA! Lie your way out of THIS one, Rubio.

    February 25, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. bc

    Boy, do those Teabaggers have class or what? Are any of them not slimeballs?

    February 25, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. AaronP

    John McCain supposed, respected member of the Republican Party getting it from his challenger. Kay Baily Hutchison, reveered Senator from Texas and Rick Perry going at it like crips and bloods. And now Gov. Crist. and Rubio going at it MMR style. Even Gov. Terminator in Calif. knows his party is just down-right mean. One thing I seem to notice about republicans these days. Not only do they hate, blacks, mexicans, the poor, the middle-class, helping thy fellow man, healthcare reform, but they also seem to really Hate each other. Nice!

    February 25, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Remember...if the law AND the facts are against you....attack the integrity of your accuser...

    February 25, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. Jane/Seattle

    I can smell Crist's evilness all the way up here in Seattle.

    February 25, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. Flagship, NC

    So basicly he just had to use the GOPs credit card to buy his wine and groceries rather than use cash or his own credit card from home!
    Something is very wrong with this picture. From the get-go he is already showing financial coruption. He has already crossed the line into the dark side. We have all seen this pattern before. This guy should be considered a non-starter. He is not fit to hold office.

    February 25, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Huh

    What he doesn't have a personal credit card?

    Katie Gordon, a spokesman for the Florida GOP told the Times/Herald that the card is only meant to be used for "business expenses."

    another I am ENTITLED politician

    February 25, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. Vincent

    Yes, Crist is clearly desperate... and so is Rubio the thief. Although compared to Palin's heist of $150k in clothing, Rubio is a piker.

    February 25, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. Frayie, Oklahoma City

    Rubio, embezzler, Crist, soon to be Senator.

    February 25, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. nellie

    It is a GOP credit card. It is meant for GOP business. I do not care how many times you say you "refunded" personal expenses. If you are on the up and up, you do not use a business credit card for personal expenses. Period. That is what you have your personal credit cards for. No excuses. Period.

    February 25, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. Jay

    Republicans eating Republicans - what a treat!

    February 25, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. FEDFL

    So, Florida taxpayers are paying Rubio's salary between 2005 and 2008 but Rubio is running up $25,000/year in expenses doing work for the GOP? Sounds like Florida's taxpayers were being played for suckers by Rubio and the GOP.

    February 25, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. Bill from CA

    While Rubio can finger point all he wants, I have yet to hear him deny these allegations, which is probably because they are true. Maybe Crist is behind leaking them, but that doesn't excuse Rubio's behavior, which is far more serious (and criminal) than Crist or anyone else leaking these documents to begin with. Rubio just strikes me as a slimy kind of guy, and these revelations only reinforce that opinion.

    February 25, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. Edwin

    I understand the use of business credit cards for personal expenses, then reimbursing the company. It is pretty normal...

    But a politician who wants to run on reputation and financial issues should be better at keeping his nose clean, so to speak.

    And... yes, Crist is probably behind it and probably feeling fairly desperate. But Rubio's fresh veneer is starting to chip a little...

    February 25, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. Sean

    Isn't, "To the greatest extent possible, I made sure the Party never paid for any personal charges," using your own credit card?

    February 25, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. Sensible Joe

    There's no act of desperation here, Mr. Rubio. You played fast and free with money that wasn't yours. It's a valid concern for the electorate. Why shouldn't we know about it?

    February 25, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. Ed Tallahassee

    And Rubio is running as the Fiscal Conservative right?

    I wonder if the Tea Baggers know who they are really backing.

    February 25, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. ps

    Gotta love how republicans attack a story's messanger rather tan the actual questionable behavior. Typical.

    February 25, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. sam

    Rubio, just trying to cover his corrupt butt.

    February 25, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. Jilli

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

    February 25, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. FJM

    Rubio, like the rest of them can talk the talk, but sure doesn't walk the walk. They don't mind spending money, as long as it isn't theirs. Another one of the right wing poster boys headed down the drain. Send in the next flash in the pan.

    February 25, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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