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Rubio Dogged By Claims of Lavish Spending at GOP Expense

Image: Rubio Dogged By Claims of Lavish Spending at GOP Expense

By    |   Wednesday, 04 Nov 2015 11:17 AM

Sen. Marco Rubio's rise in the polls is drawing fresh scrutiny of credit card spending while serving in the Florida state House and a recent cashing-in of a retirement account.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Wednesday details about the lawmaker's spending while a state House member, which included repairs for his family minivan, first came up in his race for the U.S. Senate in 2010. But they've been dogging him most recently in his surging GOP presidential run, including at the third Republican debate in Colorado last week when he deflected questions about his finances, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Asked if has "the maturity and the wisdom to lead this $17 trillion economy," Rubio responded: "You just listed a litany of discredited attacks from Democrats and my political opponents, and I'm not gonna waste 60 seconds detailing them all."

Former GOP congressman from Florida and now MSNBC commentator Joe Scarborough said the following morning he was "stunned" moderators let him off the hook, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

"And yet everybody's going, 'Oh, Marco was great.' No, Marco lied about his financials," Scarborough charged.

GOP presidential rival Donald Trump also is closing in, charging Tuesday that "For years, I've been hearing that his credit cards are a disaster," the Tampa Bay Times reports. In an interview Wednesday with ABC's "Good Morning America," Rubio defended himself.

"I


"The bottom line is, I obviously don't come from a wealthy family," the Florida senator and GOP candidate told ABC "Good Morning America" host George Stephanopoulos. "I had student loans. I only have one debt, the mortgage on the home I live in in Miami."



"Now, I recognize in hindsight, I would do it differently to avoid all this confusion. But the Republican Party never paid a single expense of mine – personal expense," he told Stephanopoulos. "Every month, I’d go through it. If it was a personal expense, I paid it. If it was a party expense, the party paid it."

The New York Times
also reported in June  that a home Rubio and a friend had bought together in Tallahassee was facing foreclosure. He eventually sold the home after missing mortgage payments on it for five months.

The Tampa Bay Times – which asked for financial records last June and in early October – reports the Rubio team is promising to release undisclosed records soon.

According to them, Rubio, who served as the Florida House speaker from 2006-08, got an American Express credit card from the Republican Party of Florida to use from 2005-2008, as did other GOP leaders. He charged about $110,000 in credit card bills over two years, the newspaper reports, and in 2010, when some of his spending was revealed, Rubio said he repaid $16,052 in personal expenses charged to the party credit card in 2007-2008, the newspaper reports.

But on Feb. 26, 2010, running for the Senate, Rubio admitted he double-billed state taxpayers and the Republican Party of Florida for eight plane tickets when he was speaker of the Florida House. Calling the billing a mistake, Rubio said he would repay the party about $2,400 to cover the flights, the newspaper reports.

Through it all, the Tampa Bay Times reports, Rubio has refused to provide credit card statements from 2005 and 2006.

"Those credit card statements are an internal party matter. I'm not going to release them," he told the editorial board of the Times-Union of Jacksonville in September 2010, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

During Rubio's Senate run GOP strategist Chris Ingram said he asked Rubio if there were any issues that would arise – and Rubio insisted he'd done nothing improper.

"There is nothing to drop. I have the statements now. It is all mostly a bunch of commercial airlines, rental cars, hotels and travel restaurants. Any personal charges were paid by (me) directly," Rubio wrote Ingram in an email on Dec. 24, 2009, the newspaper reports.

Ingram wrote back, "I hope you're right."

Staff writer Sandy Fitzgerald contributed to this report.

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Sen. Marco Rubio's rise in the polls is drawing fresh scrutiny of credit card spending while serving in the Florida state House and a recent cashing-in of a retirement account.The Tampa Bay Times reports Wednesday details about the lawmaker's spending while a...
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2015-17-04
Wednesday, 04 Nov 2015 11:17 AM
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