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February 24, 2010

  • Florida's Leaders Battle It Out, Pt.1
      Accusations fly!

    An ongoing battle over questionable credit card spending by Florida's Republican Party leaders reached another benchmark this week as accusations fly. In an attempt to beat out the Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times' story detailing Marco Rubio's Republican Party American Express card expenses, Rubio sent a letter to Republican Party of Florida Chairman John Thrasher. Rubio is under fire for excessive credit card spending including thousands of dollars of personal expenses while he served as Florida's House Speaker. As a U.S. Senate candidate running against Florida's Governor Charlie Crist, Rubio believes he's been set up to lose. He has accused Crist's office of leaking details of his credit card spending to the press in order to defame his name.

    The Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times' story outlined some of Rubio's credit card spending which included repairs to the family vehicle, alcohol purchases, grocery purchases and car rental while his personal vehicle was in the shop for repairs. In his letter to Thrasher, Rubio maintained that when he retired from his position as Speaker, he reimbursed the party for all personal credit card transactions he placed on the Party's American Express card. Furthermore, Rubio stated that the party allowed him to place personal expenses on the party's card and that the expenses were reviewed each month.

    Two of the most controversial expenditures involve a $1,000 expense for Rubio's vehicle repair costs and $2,976 car rental while the vehicle was in the shop. According to Rubio, his vehicle was damaged by parking attendants at a political function. As a result, he said the party agreed to pay half of the insurance deductible. In his statement he noted that he "was as diligent as possible to ensure the party did not pay for items that were unrelated to party business."  Furthermore, Rubio said no formal process exists pertaining to the handling of personal expenses on the party's credit card.

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