UPDATE: Former supporter: Rubio a ‘pathological liar’ who used party Amex for home remodel

Players in the RPOF Amex scandal. Former House Speakers Ray Sansom and Marco Rubio, and Speaker Designate Dean Cannon.

A former supporter of U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio says the tea party favorite used his party-issued credit card to pay for remodeling his kitchen, while Rubio continues to contradict the party’s assertion that his American Express bills went to Jim Greer. Plus: Chris Ingram fires back at Team Rubio.

From the Tampa Tribune’s William March:

A former supporter of Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio says Rubio acknowledged having once put home remodeling expenses on his Republican Party credit card.

According to that supporter, Tampa political consultant Chris Ingram, Rubio initially told Ingram he had paid for the costs – about $4,000 to $5,000 for new kitchen flooring – but later denied both putting the charges on the card and repaying them.

Ingram said he discussed the credit card issue with Rubio in August or September of 2009.

“I asked him in passing, is there anything that would cause you a problem,” Ingram said. “He said somehow or another a charge for new flooring ended up on the RPOF (Republican Party of Florida) credit card.”

Ingram said he repeatedly urged Rubio to reveal that and all other records of his credit card use to “release your own bad news and get out in front of the story.”

In a statement from a campaign aide, Rubio didn’t respond directly to Ingram’s account, but didn’t deny Ingram’s contention about the remodeling expenses. The statement attributed Ingram’s account to political motives from someone who’s now a Rubio opponent.

Rubio also repeated his refusal to release all of the billing records for his party credit card, calling it “an internal party matter.”

But in e-mails about the subject to Ingram, which Ingram provided to the Tribune, Rubio says he has all the credit card records himself. Rubio indicates in the e-mails that he has four years of records, rather than the two years’ worth that have been released by the party.

The Rubio campaign is trying to dismiss Ingram, who writes a conservative blog called Irreverent View, as a disgruntled guy whose “services” were deemed not needed by the campaign. And Rubio is continuing to insist that he received, and paid, his own American Express bill. But back in April, The Reid Report reached out to Republican Party of Florida spokesman Katie Gordon Betta, and this is what she said, on the record, in regard to Mr. Rubio and his credit card:

Speaker Rubio received the statements directly for a period of time, and then under Chairman Greer’s administration the Party received the statements directly.

Which led me to the following conclusions back then:

Again: the change in how Mr. Rubio’s ” AMEX bills were handled happened under Jim Greer’s administration, which began not long after Rubio became speaker of the House in 2006. So contrary to Rubio’s statements that “I made payments out of my own pockets directly to American Express,” the party says it was receiving the bill. And clearly, Rubio believes Jim Greer was receiving, or at least had access to those statements, because it was Rubio who accused Greer of leaking them to the press.

Rubio, according to the Herald/SPTimes investigation, went as long as six months without making a bill payment (and yet the card wasn’t cancelled, which means somebody was presumably paying the bills…) frequently used the card for routine private expenditures (plus a not-so-routine $130haircut) and in the end, repaid the party in a lump sum for about $16,000 of the $109,618he spent. But he didn’t pay the party back for everything. As you’ll recall, the party picked up the tab for a purchase at the Apple computer store, and for the repair of the Rubio family minivan, among other things, and the party also sprang for a luxury trip to Georgia for Rubio, his top aide Richard Corcoran, and his “12 disciples” to attend the Rubio family reunion. The party’s donors (and all Florida taxpayers including Democrats, since Rubio had a tendency to double bill) picked up the tab to fly Rubio to work in Tallahasse, and to fly his wife, the so-called “first lady of the Florida House” around the state. As one Republican put it not long ago, this was part of the “culture of entitlement” Rubio and his friends created at the time.

Back to two important points from March’s story:

Rubio also repeated his refusal to release all of the billing records for his party credit card, calling it “an internal party matter.”

But in e-mails about the subject to Ingram, which Ingram provided to the Tribune, Rubio says he has all the credit card records himself. Rubio indicates in the e-mails that he has four years of records, rather than the two years’ worth that have been released by the party.

And:

Rubio has said in the past that he paid the credit card company directly for all personal expenses that he put on his party credit card – about $16,000 worth — and reimbursed the party for the cost of state government-related airplane flights he inadvertently missed.

“There was never any Republican Party money ever spent on any of those personal charges,” he said in a Tampa Tribune editorial board interview last week.

He said a travel agent charged the flights to the credit card. In another instance, he said a hotel that had the card number for a party meeting billed the card for charges for a Rubio family reunion.

But again, the official position of Mr. Rubio’s party is that they, not he, were both receiving, and paying his American Express bill during Jim Greer’s tenure, which overlapped Mr. Rubio’s tenure almost completely.

But let’s say Rubio is correct, and it is he who has the statements, not Jim Greer and not the party. He then should be perfectly free to release them, since no party can stop him from releasing records he deems to be his personal property.

If Mr. Rubio wants to get this behind him, he should release those records, and clear up the ambiguity.

UPDATE: Chris Ingram fires back at the Rubio camp’s charge that he is only speaking out because they wouldn’t hire him. From Igram’s website, in which he calls Rubio a “pathological liar” and “2010′s Katherine Harris”:

After Rubio told me of these inappropriate charges last summer, I encouraged him to “release his own bad news, apologize for it, and assure the public it would never happen again.” Not only did Rubio not follow this advice, he dug in, made excuses, and played like he was the victim.

An important fact to consider about this case is that Rubio doesn’t deny the charge. This is because he knows that somewhere out there the records exist to corroborate my story. That is, there is an AmEx statement with Rubio’s name on it for new kitchen floors paid for by the RPOF. If Rubio wasn’t guilty/was innocent of this reckless and possibly illegal spending, he could of course prove it by releasing all of his American Express card statements. But we all know that isn’t ever going to happen because guilty people don’t release their records – only honest people do, and honesty is not an adjective that fits Marco Rubio.

So, given the facts don’t support his claims, what does Marco have left to do? Attack me.

And as to those attacks, Ingram makes the case that he did not come forward after initially learning of the Amex statements last summer, but rather continued to “consult” for free with Rubio and to raise money for him — why he did so if he believes the card use to be unethical he doesn’t say. But Ingram does have on his side that he can’t be tagged as, for instance, a supporter of Charlie Crist. In fact, he’s a bit of a “pox on both their houses” guy, who says he’ll be voting for Alex Snitker. But it is Ingram’s personal interaction with Rubio that makes his charges most damning. As does this passage:

That’s what Rubio (and people like him) don’t get about normal people, the Tea Party movement, and other disaffected Americans – real people just want good government and a viable future for the next generation. Not everyone out there is like Rubio or Charlie, or the special interests wondering “what’s in it for me?”

So I gave up on Marco Rubio and spilled the beans after watching his recent TV ads whereby he attempts to appeal to voters with a “Boy Scout” image. I don’t buy it, and I believe he’s just as disingenuous as Charlie Crist. The only difference is, my lack of trust in Marco is on an individual level, while Charlie’s is purely political. In my book, Marco’s lack of trust is far worse than Charlie’s. Charlie may be a lot of things, but out for personal gain (other than being elected to something) is not one of them. Marco’s want for power is different – he appears to not only want fame, but also fortune. Watching him on TV talking about values and fiscal responsibility while knowing he doesn’t know right from wrong and can’t even keep his own affairs in order just plain disgusts me.  That is why I have chosen to out Marco Rubio for being the snake I believe him to be.

In short, I don’t think Marco Rubio is telling the truth. He is not telling the truth about me. He is not telling the truth about his spending of RPOF funds on his credit card. He is not telling the truth about the RPOF paying for his family reunion. Of course, he has perfect explanations for all of these indiscretions.  But a pattern of untrustworthy behavior exists, and I believe such behavior should disqualify him from serving in the U.S. Senate – at minimum it disqualifies him from receiving my vote. Yet somehow among my Kool-aid drinking Republican friends, we’re supposed to support Marco and believe he’s the savior of our nation simply because he’s got an “R” after his name. No thanks. Some guy who can’t handle a credit card the right way, isn’t going to be able to appropriately vote on the budget or taxes. (For more on what a great conservative fiscal steward Rubio is, read story in today’s St. Pete Times.)

I’ve been a Republican my whole life, but I refuse to vote for someone whom I cannot trust just because they have an “R” after their name. I don’t trust Marco Rubio. Someone who is so completely devoid of knowing right from wrong as it relates to his own finances and the finances of others can’t be trusted to go to Washington and solve the fiscal mess our country is in.

The irony of all of this is that while Rubio is one of the darlings of the tea party Republican movement, bioengineered to make them seem diverse because he’s Hispanic, actual tea partyers who aren’t in it strictly to help Jim DeMint and the GOP, but who actually buy into the Libertarian-leaning ideology, could ultimately be his worst enemies.

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6 Responses to UPDATE: Former supporter: Rubio a ‘pathological liar’ who used party Amex for home remodel

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  3. mike demas says:

    why does someone that has so much going for him forget that honesty is the best policy? it’s not the mistakes we make in life, we all make them, but trying to trying to cover them up will get you evey time. it seems so simple to me.

  4. Gen Early says:

    OK, So Rubio is not Perfect, Who is? Please step forward. The last US Senate election had choices. Would Suntan Charlie or Meeks vote the way you want?

    Maybe Obama isn’t so bad after all(sarc) and McLame deserved to lose. But who would you rather have as President RIGHT NOW?
    Quit whining, Man Up. We have a real FIGHT coming and it’s going to take some imperfect “soldiers” to stand on the line.

    I’ll stand with Rubio.

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