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Setting the Record Straight on Rubio's Am Ex Setting the Record Straight on Rubio's Am Ex

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Setting the Record Straight on Rubio's Am Ex

May 1, 2012
Even if Florida Sen. Marco Rubio isn't getting vetted by the Mitt Romney campaign (yet) as a potential running mate, he is enduring an unusual amount of grilling. On Monday, he acknowledged in an interview with Fox News (around 16:20) that it was "a mistake'' when he was a state lawmaker to use an American Express card paid for by the Republican Party of Florida to pick up thousands of dollars in personal expenses. He blamed some of the charges on a confused travel agent and others on his own sloppy wallet draw, but he insisted that he reimbursed American Express for all personal expenses. "The Republican Party of Florida never paid my personal expenses,'' he said. He also said the matter was "totally resolved years ago.''

Not so. Even putting aside the obvious -- why would such a savvy politician continually use a state party credit card for non-party business, requiring him to reimburse the credit card company after the bill had been paid? -- questions remain about the more than $100,000 in charges from Nov. 2006 to Nov. 2008. Read the stories written by The Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times here and here and  here and here.

Rubio never released his party credit card records from 2005 and 2006. As a lawmaker, he also raised about $600,000 for two political committees that reimbursed him for tens of thousands of dollars in unitemized meals and travel expenses.

The former Speaker of the House wasn't the worst or the only credit card maven in Florida -- plenty of Republican party leaders and elected officials used  the well-tended state party's coffers as personal slush funds. But as the rest of the country now knows, Rubio was undoubtedly was one of the most talented and ambitious Florida Republicans to take advantage of the state party's largesse and sloppy bookkeeping. Whether the issue is relevant to his qualifications as a potential vice president will be up to the Romney campaign and the voters.

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