Last week, the New York Times published the traffic infraction history of Marco Rubio and his wife. The suppposedly shocking findings: The Rubios are typical Miami drivers. The piece was widely panned by other outlets and even spawned the Twitter hashtag #RubioCrimeSpree, mocking the lowball nature of the so-called investigation.
Today those same reporters are back with another Rubio exposé, this time about the history of his personal finances. It's far more relevant. After all, if elected president, Rubio would be responsible for the nation's budget. The Times' findings: Rubio also has the financial history of a typical Miamian. That is to say, it's complicated and perhaps not the most prudent.
Not much of the information the Times turned up is particularly new. Many bits are common knowledge among local political watchers, and the older ones were detailed in New Times' profile of Rubio in 2010. There's the controversial job he snagged at Florida International University, the episode where he charged personal expenses to Republican Party of Florida credit cards, his student loans, his odd real-estate history, and his family's financial reliance on Norman Braman. However, the piece also explains how Rubio spent much of the money he received as advances for his two books.
Two odd bits particularly stand out:
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- "But at the same time, he splurged on an extravagant purchase: $80,000 for a luxury speedboat, state records show," the Times explains. However, Rubio's camp tells Politico that the boat is not a "luxury speedboat" but rather a fishing boat. It's a rather nice fishing boat — an an EdgeWater 245CC Deep-V Center Console — but still a fishing boat, and the gap in the "luxury speedboat" imagery and actuality is pretty large, even if the boat costs $80,000.
- "In the past week, he suffered a new loss when he sold his second home in Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, for $18,000 less than he and a friend paid for it a decade ago. The house had previously faced foreclosure after Mr. Rubio and his friend failed to make mortgage payments for five months," the Times writes. That friend is later referred to as "another state lawmaker" but never by name. So who is that friend? It's former Congressman David Rivera. You know, he's that guy with a record of corruption and with many allegations against him still under investigation. He might be someone the Times might want to mention by name.
Though many of the allegations aren't new, the Times spoke with some of Rubio's friends to get a better handle on the situations behind the numbers. Most point out that Rubio is a self-made man with grand ambitions who didn't come from a wealthy family and has learned about finances through trial and error. They also point out that Rubio's finances have long frustrated him:
The Senate has provided Mr. Rubio with a prestigious platform, to write books, travel the world, deliver speeches and, today, mount a run for the White House. But he has told friends that the job has imposed its own form of financial hardship, and he expressed occasional envy of colleagues in the private sector.
Mr. Rubio’s Senate salary of $174,000 is far less than he earned as a lawyer and consultant, and the Rubio family expenses are significant. All four of their children attend parochial school.
So Marco Rubio isn't satisfied with his Senate salary? No wonder he's choosing to go all in on his presidential run and forgoing reelection to his Senate seat.