As Marco Rubio rises in the polls, his financial past is coming back to haunt him – namely two years of credit card transactions from his time as speaker of the Florida House, the details of which remain a mystery.
During the GOP presidential hopeful‘s 2010 Senate race, the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald obtained his 2006 and 2007 credit card statements, which allegedly showed that he regularly charged personal expenses – including a four-day, $10,000 family reunion and repairs to his family minivan, according to the Times.
The investigation also found he failed to disclose $34,000 in expenses, including $7,000 he paid to himself and $5,700 he paid his wife, Jeanette, as reimbursement for “gas and meals,” Politifact reports. (Jeanette was treasurer of one of two political committees he created in order to accept contributions toward his travel and other political expenses.) Plus, Rubio reportedly gave family members an additional $14,000 and racked up $51,000 in travel expenses on his own credit cards.
When asked at the time to release additional records, the Florida senator declined, per the Tampa Bay Times – but now that he’s emerging as a top contender for the GOP nomination, he’s back in the hot seat.
Rival Donald Trump pounced on Rubio’s murky credit card history Tuesday in a press conference in New York City, saying, “For years, I’ve been hearing that his credit cards are a disaster.”
“He certainly lives above his means; there’s no question about that,” the billionaire businessman added.
And CNBC moderator Becky Quick asked Rubio about his financial troubles during last week’s Republican debate, saying, “You yourself have said that you’ve had issues. You have a lack of bookkeeping skills. You accidentally inter-mingled campaign money with your personal money. You faced foreclosure on a second home that you bought. And just last year, you liquidated a $68,000 retirement fund In terms of all of that, it raises the question whether you have the maturity and wisdom to lead this $17 trillion economy. What do you say?”
But Rubio brushed off the question, saying Quick had simply listed a “litany of discredited attacks from Democrats.”
He defended himself against the attacks Wednesday morning on Good Morning America, telling ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, “I only have one debt in the world, which is my mortgage on a home for me and my family.”
Rubio dismissed allegations that he withdrew money from his retirement account to cover living expenses, and that he used a GOP Party credit card for personal expenses as false.
“Now, I recognize in hindsight, I would do it differently to avoid all this confusion. But the Republican Party never paid a single expense of mine – personal expense,” he said. “Every month, I’d go through it. If it was a personal expense, I paid it. If it was a party expense, the party paid it.”
Rubio also promised to release his expense reports “soon.”