Days after dodging having to testify in a Florida House ethics investigation of his former protege, Ray Sansom, Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio has another mini-scandal on his hands. When Speaker of the Florida House from 2005 to 2008, the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) provided Rubio with an American Express card that he admits using for personal expenses. Rubio is accusing Gov. Charlie Crist’s campaign, currently trailing by 18 points in the polls, of leaking the expense information to the media.
The Miami Herald reports:
Rubio said Wednesday that he paid for all personal expenses billed to an American Express card given to him by the party to use from 2005 to 2008, when he left public office. The rest of the charges, he said, were legitimate party expenses.
Those expenses include a $1,000 charge at Braman Honda in Miami for repairs to the family car in January 2008. Rubio said the minivan was damaged by parking attendants at a political function and that the party agreed to cover half of his insurance deductible. The party also paid $2,976 for him to rent a car in Miami for five weeks, according to the records provided by a confidential source.
Rubio said the party allowed him to put personal expenses on the card — and the party reviewed his bill monthly.
Before Marco Rubio’s supporters breath a sigh of relief a spokeswoman for the RPOF says Rubio’s explanation just isn’t so. The card is a corporate card and must be used to pay for business expenses, with an added twist from the IRS: “Donations to parties must go exclusively toward influencing elections under IRS rules.” Unfortunately for Rubio, that means the grocery and wine bills, plus the lumber, and the electronics, and the computer supplies are probably not supposed to be there.