Uh Oh, Marco: IRS Investigating Rubio’s Tax Records
Former House Speaker Marco Rubio said Wednesday afternoon that he has not been contacted for a reported federal tax investigation into charges he made on a Republican Party credit card when he led the Florida House.
The Miami Herald reported Wednesday that the Internal Revenue Service had launched a preliminary investigation into Rubio’s tax records in the wake of revelations he spent party money on personal expenses while he led the Florida House.
Rubio has said he paid back personal charges made on his card, but the newspaper reported that the IRS is looking into whether he reported the money as income. Wednesday afternoon, Rubio said in a statement that he has not been contacted by investigators, but was glad for the opportunity to clear the record.
“Getting this information out in the open will be the best way to deal with it,” he said in a statement E-mailed to the News Service of Florida. “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. I have not been contacted and don't know anything about any potential inquiries, but I welcome the chance to set the record straight once and for all.”
The newspaper report linked the IRS inquiry to a broader investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tallahassee and the FBI into Republican Party credit card use by leaders, which has plagued the party since former chairman Jim Greer stepped down. The probe also involves former party executive director Delmar Johnson.
Greer was appointed – and for a long time defended - by Rubio’s opponent for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, Gov. Charlie Crist.
Crist, who has said he didn’t have a GOP credit card, said Wednesday that the federal investigations would get to the bottom of the controversy, though he did not specifically comment on the reports about Rubio.
"I have great confidence in the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office and I'm sure justice will be done," Crist said when reporters asked him Wednesday for a reaction to the probe.
However, despite increasing rumors that Crist is considering getting out of the Republican U.S. Senate primary to run with no party affiliation, his campaign sought to turn the investigation into an advantage.
"This speaks to a wider issue that undercuts Speaker Rubio's credibility when it comes to his fiscal conservative credentials, as well as raises questions about this political insider's use of public office for his own personal enrichment," Crist's campaign press secretary Amanda Henneberg said in an E-mail.
Greer, who was forced to resign as party chairman early this year, told the Miami Herald that he complied with the law. "I paid all my taxes and did everything my accountant told me to do,” he told the paper.