Rubio To Face Accusations Of Misuse Of Party Credit Card And Personal Slush Fund
As he becomes more prominent as a national candidate, Marco Rubio will face charges of financial impropriety that occurred when he was Florida’s House Speaker.
Rubio, who was speaker of the Florida House of Representatives from 2007 to 2009, emerged unscathed as agents from the US attorney’s office, Internal Revenue Service, FBI and the Florida department of law enforcement examined a number of senior party figures.
But now that he is running for president, and enjoying a popularity surge that placed him top of the crowded field of Republican White House hopefuls in last week’s CNN/ORC poll, questions over Rubio’s fiscal propriety appear to be coming back to haunt his campaign. Opponents will seize on his misuse of a party-issued credit card, and separate accusations that he treated hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations to two conservative action committees he established before he became speaker as a personal slush fund.
“There’s no other way of putting it than saying he raised money to travel and to go for fine-dining meals when the purpose of those committees was to help elect candidates running for public office,” said Christian Ulvert, a senior Democratic adviser who was the opposition party’s communications chief in Florida when Rubio was speaker.
“If it’s 25 to 35K over a year you’d be saying is that a big deal, and rightfully so. But when you’re talking around $300,000 dollars that’s a different story. That’s a big chunk of change. It’s clear there was lack of accountability and fiscal discipline.”
Set up ostensibly for “education” and “to support state and local candidates who espouse conservative government policies”, the committees, according to investigations by the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times, paid tens of thousands of dollars in “reimbursements for expenses” to Rubio and several family members, another $150,000 for “office/operating and administrative costs”, up to $50,000 in vague credit card charges covering travel, food and lodging, and many thousands more in “consultancy fees”.