Marco Rubio on RPOF credit card controversy: ‘I would not do it again’

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In an interview with Fox News, Marco Rubio responded to questions about his office’s use of a Florida Republican Party charge card during his time in the Florida legislature. “[I]f I had to do it again, I would not do it that way,” Rubio said. But, he emphasized, “it’s important people understand: I did not bill personal expenses to the Republican Party of Florida.”

Via First Read:

It was totally resolved years ago. But let me walk you — it’s a very valid question. First of all, I’ve already said that if I had to do it again, I would not do it that way. What I had was not a credit card; it was an American Express card, as a charge card. So basically, you charge things on a card and, at the end of the month, you have to pay it off completely. At the end of every month, we would get those statements, we would see what was on there that was party-related, and the party would pay that. If it wasn’t party-related, I would pay that — directly to American Express. It wasn’t like I reimbursed the party; I paid it directly to American Express at the time.

Now obviously, in hindsight, it looks bad, right? I mean, why are you using the party credit card at all? Well, some of these expenses were because a travel agent had the number — you know, the credit card number — and they billed it to that card instead of the other card. Sometimes, it was just a mistake. I just reached for the wrong card.

I’m sorry, Rubio’s answer on this is b*llshit.

Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t care if he used the RPOF card to pay for lap dances at Scores. It’s not taxpayer money, so whatever was transacted was between Republican Party of Florida and Rubio. Seriously, I really don’t care.

Just don’t give us the banana-in-the-tailpipe excuse about reaching for the wrong card.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, “a Republican political consultant and former vocal Rubio supporter says Rubio told him he had charged thousands of dollars in home remodeling expenses on his state GOP American Express card. ‘I raised the issue very casually, “Are there any issues you need to worry about that could cause you a problem?” The biggest concern of his was this charge of $4,000 to $5,000 for a kitchen flooring renovation in his house that he said somehow wound up on his (party) credit card,’ said Chris Ingram, adding that Rubio assured him he had paid for that charge.”

That’s not reaching for the wrong card.

Neither is charging grocery bills, repairs to the family minivan and purchases from a wine store less than a mile from Rubio’s West Miami home (according to records obtained by the St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald).

To recap, Rubio said the charges were made with ‘my money.’ […] But, according to PolitiFact, there were purchases that appear to be personal, and were paid for by the Republican Party, undercuts his claim. And although the card was under his name, American Express says that in general — as long as a cardholder isn’t violating the rules set out by the company — it is the company (in this case the party) that is liable for the charges. And the cardholder (in this case Rubio) won’t have his credit rating affected if the bill is not paid on time. So there’s little evidence that it was ‘his money,’ but more that it was really the party’s.

If Rubio didn’t have something to hide on this, he should have been more forthright from the beginning.

When Marco Rubio sat down with the Jacksonville Times-Union editorial board, they asked questions about his credit card statements

Q: ‘I’d like a yes or no answer. Did you ever use your Republican Party of Florida credit card to purchase flooring for your home?’

A: ‘Look, I’ve already addressed these credit card questions. The bills came to my home and I always wrote a check for personal expenses.’

Q: ‘But did you ever use the card to purchase flooring for your home?’

A: ‘If there was an accident, any time there was something on there that was personal, I promptly paid out of my own pocket.’”

Sounds like the ol’ banana-in-the-tailpipe again.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.