South Miami

Rubio's use of campaign funds for 2002 car lease raises questions

 

The Miami Herald

Republican Senate nominee Marco Rubio spent heavily on four reelection campaigns as a state legislator, though he never faced a serious challenge.

Between 2000 and 2006, he shelled out about $676,451 for political consulting, television advertising and other routine campaign costs. He reimbursed himself about $11,436 for equipment, travel and meals. That's also routine.

But one payment stands out: a $1,485.55 check cut on June 12, 2002, to "Marco Rubio Bank of America Auto Finance Corp." for "auto expense," according to public records. Rubio was leasing a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee at the time from the bank, said a top advisor to his Senate campaign, Todd Harris.

Harris said Rubio was owed the money for mileage racked up during 11 months while campaigning for reelection in the central Miami-Dade district, though he didn't face an opponent. He said Rubio drove 4,070 miles, which at the Internal Revenue Service's reimbursement rate of 36.5 cents per mile, came to exactly $1,485.55.

Harris did not say why the check was made out to the bank instead of to the candidate himself.

"Florida election law allows for reimbursements for travel-related expenditures. This is no different than had the campaign just reimbursed Marco directly," Harris said.

Harris added: "If you are campaigning aggressively around Miami or within the district, the mileage adds up quickly."

Rubio's legislative district was roughly 30 blocks wide and 120 blocks long, encompassing South Miami, West Miami, Virginia Gardens, Miami Springs and parts of Coral Gables and Hialeah.

He did not seek reimbursement for mileage in any of his other House campaigns. Not when he first won public office in a special election on Jan. 25, 2000, after knocking out three Republican rivals and a Democrat. Not later that same year, when he failed to draw an opponent and automatically won reelection. And not in 2004 and 2006, when he faced only token opposition.

To read the complete article, visit www.miamiherald.com.

Read more South Miami stories from the Miami Herald

  • South Miami

    South Miami keeps same parking contractor

    South Miami commissioners have voted unanimously to allow City Manger Steven Alexander to negotiate a five-year agreement with LAZ Parking to manage the city’s parking garage and electronic meters.

  •  
Chinatown closed its doors in South Miami last month.

    South Miami

    Popular Chinese restaurant closes in South Miami

    Those looking to order takeout from a popular Chinese restaurant in South Miami are faced with disconnected phone numbers and a small cardboard sign that reads, “Sorry. We’re closed.”

  • South Miami

    South Miami approves sandwich shop at Sunset Place

    Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches will soon have a new home in South Miami. The city commission unanimously approved a special-use permit for the restaurant to go in on the Red Road side of the Shops at Sunset Place.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK