As Rubio raises millions for his re-election, the 2016 presidential campaign is in debt

Senator Marco Rubio. Photo: Fox

By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org

Republican US Senator Marco Rubio has cultivated a reputation as a debt expert for years. He co-introduced a bill in September to “start curbing our growing debt crisis”. Ten years ago, Rubio told President Obama that under his leadership, America was becoming a “rogue nation.”

Rubio, 50, knows a thing or two about debt and deadbeats. Six years after the senior Florida senator folded his bid for president in 2016, Rubio’s campaign still owes its suppliers $827,657.12, federal election records show.

Yet Marco Rubio for the Senate – a legally separate entity from Marco Rubio for the President – ​​continues. Rubio’s senatorial campaign has raised nearly $24.4 million and, at the end of 2021, had nearly $10.6 million in cash and no debt. Its leadership PAC, Reclaim America, brought in an additional $460,000 last year, with reported cash of $199,000.

Last week, the Federal Election Commission pelted Rubio’s Senate campaign with a letter threatening enforcement action if it failed to properly disclose the Virginia-based Take Back the Senate PAC as joint fundraising representative in its organizational statement. The Take Back PAC supports many Republican senators.

By contrast, Rubio’s most likely opponent in November, U.S. Representative Valdez “Val” Demings, D-Orlando, has raised $20.7 million since jumping into the running in June. His campaign brought in $8.2 million in cash and no debt as of December 31.

U.S. Representative Valdez ‘Val’ Demings

As for 2024, Rubio appears to be keeping his presidential options open. In late August, he visited Iowa — traditionally the throwing state for political primaries — for the first time since running for president. “I’m running for re-election in Florida to serve in the United States Senate,” Rubio told reporters after attending a fundraiser, according to the Monks Register. “I have no conversation about running for president, but I have friends here.”

“At the end of the day, I don’t know what the future holds or what my life will be like in two years – or let alone four years,” he said. “If I had described the world five years ago to any of you, you wouldn’t believe half the things that have happened in the last five years.”

RUBIO AND HIS GOP CREDIT CARD

Although Rubio has been a public defender of financial austerity, his personal money management abilities have come under almost constant scrutiny. After his 2000-2008 tenure at Florida House, where he became president, he was criticized for using a state GOP American Express card to charge thousands of dollars in personal home kitchen renovation expenses. Rubio said he paid those fees.

Similarly, Rubio said Miami Herald journalist Beth Reinhard in March 2010 that he paid thousands more to cover other charges made on his behalf on the party’s credit card.

“The cost of Marco Rubio’s four-day family reunion just north of the Florida-Georgia line: over $10,000, billed to the Republican Party of Florida. When The Miami Herald and the Saint-Petersburg timetable Asked about the charges last month, Rubio blamed his travel agent for mistakenly using his credit card to book the 20 hotel rooms, and said he collected checks from relatives to cover expenses. “I paid the entire personal charge,” Rubio said in a statement. ‘The Republican Party never paid anything,’ says Reinhard’s story.

the Timenow known as Tampa Bay Weatherand the Herald obtained credit card statements from the Rubio party from 2006-2007 which they flagged, then showed that Rubio “regularly charged personal expenses to the card”, including groceries, auto repairs, computer supplies and wine. Rubio said she personally paid for those costs as well.

Today, with earnings of $174,000 a year in 2020 from his job as a senator and another $23,000 salary from Florida International University where he is a senior fellow, Rubio’s personal finances are less hectic. He was also paid $1,500 that year by the Penguin Publishing Group to write the foreword for a book.

WILL RUBIO PAY OFF CAMPAIGN DEBT?

Rubio’s only liability listed on its 2020 annual federal financial statement, filed last May, is a large mortgage with the Professional Bank of Coral Gables. The amount listed is between $500,000 and $1 million, due to federal requirements that avoid specifics and allow politicians’ assets and liabilities to be listed within broad ranges.

Rubio’s assets, not including Florida prepaid college plans for each of his four children, are mostly held in three bank accounts and five mutual funds. The total range of these reported assets is between $71,000 and $240,000. This includes the value of Rubio’s sole shareholder, Coca-Cola stock, worth between $1,000 and $15,000.

Rep. Demings earned the same $174,000 salary as a congressman in 2020, reporting other income below $600 in interest. She owns condos in Washington and Jacksonville with a total value of between $350,000 and $750,000, a house in Orlando, with mortgages on all three properties. The biggest mortgage, on his house, is between $500,000 and $1 million. Demings also pointed to outstanding auto loans and credit card debt that she valued between $25,000 and $65,000.

With Rubio now more cash-rich, both personally and in his Senate campaign, will he pay off the large unpaid debts from his presidential campaign to companies like FLS Connect, a Minneapolis company that did telemarketing, or GBP Media of Greenville, SC, who did media manufacturing work?

Federal election law appears to provide a way to pay off this old debt that Rubio has yet to use. Funds can legally be transferred between a candidate’s former federal campaign committee and their current campaign committee as long as the transferred funds do not include any illegal contributions.

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