Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio is defending himself following reports that he charged thousands of dollars to his Florida Republican Party credit card for personal expenses ranging from car repairs to a visit to a fancy barbershop.
The St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald reported Thursday that Rubio, who is facing off in the GOP primary against Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, charged more than $100,000 to his state party American Express card between November 2006 and November 2008 -- he was House speaker for most of that period.
The report said the charges covered not only official travel but grocery bills, wine store purchases and other seemingly personal items, and that while Rubio claimed he paid the party back for personal expenses, the Florida GOP picked up the tab for some of them. The report said, for instance, that the party paid $1,000 for repairs to his family car -- Rubio said it was damaged at a political function.
Rubio has acknowledged making the charges. He claims that 89% of the charges were related to his work as party chairman. (that means that 11% are not?) The charges amount to about $110000 over a period just more than 2 years. Rubio charged that the charges were leaked to Crist's campaign in an act of desperation.