The Internal Revenue Service is reportedly investigating Florida senatorial candidate Marco Rubios use of a Republican Party credit card.
Rubio, a former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, has been leading Florida Governor Charlie Crist in recent polls as the GOP candidate for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Rubio has attracted backing from conservatives and Tea Party activists, while Crist has been criticized for accepting stimulus funds from the federal government last year and more recently for vetoing a bill that would have eliminated tenure for public school teachers and linked their pay to student performance. Crist is weighing a decision to run as an independent.
However, Rubio has been criticized in campaign ads for using his Republican Party American Express card to pay for personal expenses, including repairs to his family minivan, grocery bills, plane tickets for his wife, and retail purchases. Rubio blamed accounting errors and said he has reimbursed the party for over $16,000 in expenses. He reportedly racked up over $100,000 in expenses on the card while he was House Speaker, but he claimed most of the expenses were business related.
Any personal expenses that were not reimbursed by him would have to be claimed as personal income on his tax returns. The IRS is reportedly investigating his expenses, along with those of two other state party officials, according to the Miami Herald and the St. Petersburg Times.
Rubio issued a statement saying he had no worries about the investigation. Getting this information out in the open will be the best way to deal with it, he said, according to the Associated Press. As far as my spending is concerned, it was for legitimate political purposes. When I made personal charges, I paid for them directly to American Express.
However, he claimed he has not yet been contacted by investigators. I have not been contacted and dont know anything about any potential inquiries, but I welcome the chance to set the record straight once and for all, he said.
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