November 7, 2015

EVEN A CAREER POLITICIAN'S GOTTA MAKE A LIVING SOMEHOW:

A Guide to Marco Rubio's Messy Personal Finances (Margaret Hartmann, 11/06/15, NewYork)

The main focus of the current controversy is Rubio's mixing of personal and business expenses when he was speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. Between 2005 and 2008 Rubio had a Republican Party of Florida American Express card. Under IRS rules, donations to political parties, which are tax exempt, can only go toward influencing elections. According to former party spokesperson Katie Gordon, the card was "a corporate card and is meant to be used for business expenses." But the Tampa Bay Times reported in 2010 that much of the $100,000 Rubio put on the card counted as personal expenses, including lavish dinners, repairs to his family minivan, and purchases from a wine store near his house. There was even a $6,773 charge for a Rubio family reunion at a Georgia resort.

When the allegations first surfaced, Rubio said he reviewed the bill every month and paid for the expenses he deemed personal. "I was as diligent as possible to ensure the party did not pay for items that were unrelated to party business," he said. The Times reported that during his time as speaker, Rubio made $13,900 in payments to American Express to reimburse the party for his personal expenses. (His relatives sent checks that covered most of the reunion expenses, but the party wound up paying $714.) However, the paper found no evidence that the payments were made monthly, and there was one six-month period where Rubio made no payments.

There were various other issues with Rubio's political spending. Prior to becoming speaker, Rubio and his wife controlled two political committees that collected $600,000 altogether. The Times found that they failed to disclose $34,000 in expenses, paid family members for expenses that were incorrectly labeled, and spent little on contributions to other candidates. Later it was discovered that as speaker, Rubio double-billed the Republican Party of Florida and state taxpayers for eight flights, totaling about $2,400. He said it was a "mistake" and reimbursed the party.

Posted by at November 7, 2015 6:52 AM

  

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