IRS Opens Probe Into Marco Rubio’s GOP Credit Card Charges

April 21, 2010

(ChattahBox)—Florida right-wing tea party candidate for the U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio, went a little wild with the GOP’s American Express card, while he served as the state Speaker of the House. He billed the Florida Republican Party $100,000 in just two-years. Now, the IRS is taking notice and has opened a “primary” probe to examine Rubio’s tax records, to determine if his alleged misuse of GOP credit cards rose to the level of a crime. Rubio reportedly used the Party’s plastic for impermissible personal expenses, including the repair of a family minivan and purchasing wine from a shop near his home. So much for fiscal responsibility.

The IRS investigation of Rubio’s finances, is part of a broader federal probe initiated in the wake of hundreds of thousands of dollars of charges placed on Florida Republican Party American Express cards.

According to the report by the Miami Herald:

“The U.S. attorney’s office in Tallahassee, the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service are all involved in the probe, which grew out of the state investigation into former House Speaker Ray Sansom. He was indicted on criminal charges that he stashed $6 million in the state budget for an airplane hangar for a friend and campaign donor. In the federal case, Sansom and others could be charged with making false statements on their tax returns and tax evasion.”

And the IRS is launching separate probes into the finances of Rubio and two other Republican Party officials, to determine if Rubio and others personally benefited from using their GOP American Express cards, without reporting or paying taxes on additional income:

“Meanwhile, in a separate inquiry, the IRS is also looking at the tax records of at least three former party credit card holders — former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, ex-state party chairman Jim Greer and ex-party executive director Delmar Johnson — to determine whether they misused their party credit cards for personal expenses, according to a source familiar with the preliminary inquiry.”

Rubio denies that his credit card charges were improper and he says he reimbursed the party $16,000 for personal expenses:

“Rubio billed the party for more than $100,000 during the two years he served as House speaker, according to credit card statements obtained by The Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times. The charges included repairs to the family minivan, grocery bills, plane tickets for his wife, and purchases from retailers ranging from a wine store near his home to Apple’s on-line store. Rubio also charged the party for dozens of meals during the annual lawmaking session in Tallahassee, even though he received taxpayer subsidies for his meals.”

Rubio says he has not been contacted by the IRS.

Republican Governor Charlie Crist is in a losing primary battle for the U.S. Senate seat against Rubio, and a federal investigation into Rubio’s finances may provide a lifeline to Crist’s campaign.

Photo Credit: SCOTT KEELER/ Times


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