Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hey Big Spender

Marco Rubio, who’s running as a fiscal conservative, doesn’t have a problem spending other peoples’ money. The Miami Herald has the story.

About $600,000 in contributions was stowed in two inconspicuous political committees controlled by Rubio, now the Republican front-runner for the U.S. Senate, and his wife. A Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times analysis of the expenses found:

• Rubio failed to disclose $34,000 in expenses — including $7,000 he paid himself — for one of the committees in 2003 and 2004, as required by state law.

• One committee paid relatives nearly $14,000 for what was incorrectly described to the IRS as ”courier fees” and listed a nonexistent address for one of them. Another committee paid $5,700 to his wife, who was listed as the treasurer, much of it for ”gas and meals.”

• Rubio billed more than $51,000 in unidentified ”travel expenses” to three different credit cards — nearly one-quarter of the committee’s entire haul. Charges are not required to be itemized, but other lawmakers detailed almost all of their committee expenses.

Rubio’s spending continued in 2005 when the Republican Party of Florida handed him a credit card to use at his own discretion. While serving as House speaker in 2007 and 2008, he charged thousands of dollars in restaurant tabs to the state party at the same time taxpayers were subsidizing his meals in Tallahassee.

Of course his campaign came out with a defense.

”Every single thing Marco Rubio did was in accordance with both the letter and spirit, not only of Florida law, but of the policies and practices of the Republican Party of Florida,” said Rubio campaign advisor Todd Harris, though he admitted the $34,000 in expenses should have been reported. ”While every penny was accounted for, not all of the bureaucratic paperwork was filed and we will take whatever steps are appropriate to make sure that gets done.”

He added, ”This is not taxpayer money we’re talking about.”

Oh, that pesky paperwork; it’s such a pain. Whether or not it was taxpayer money, it sure makes Mr. Rubio look like a big old hypocrite as some kind of fiscal conservative. He’s like any other rock star who suddenly had people throwing money at him: he loves the attention and the benefits. How do you like him now, teabaggers?