Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL) meets people following a round table discussion at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.
Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty

Rubio campaign releases credit-card records after calls for disclosure

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s campaign on Saturday released nearly two years of credit card records from the time the senator from Florida served in the state House of Representatives.

The disclosure comes after attacks from rival Donald Trump and others, who have questioned how Rubio used a state Republican party credit card while he was a legislator in his home state.

“For years I’ve heard about Marco and his credit cards,” Donald Trump said recently. “And I’ll be honest with you, I think that he’s got a problem there.”

Rubio sometimes used the card for personal expenses and paid them directly to American Express, according to his campaign, but some of those charges have been previously unreported.

The records released were from 2005 and 2006.

“Marco is running for president, and he understands that voters have a right to know not only where he would take our country, but also where he came from and what’s in his past,” said top campaign aide Todd Harris. “He is not afraid of that scrutiny because he has nothing to hide.”

Rubio used his card nearly 500 times between January 2005 and November 2006, spending almost $65,000, according to the campaign. It described eight of those charges, totaling $7,244, as used for personal expenses.

One such expense? A vacation that piggybacked off a business trip to Las Vegas. Rubio, visiting family in the area, paid $1,745 for hotel and car rental fees incurred after the business portion of his trip ended, his campaign said.

Another personal charge, the largest at more than $3,700, involved a payment to a tiling company. Rubio has said it was a simple mistake: “I pulled the wrong card from my wallet to pay for pavers,” Rubio wrote in his 2012 book “An American Son.”

The campaign says Rubio also paid late fees to American Express totaling nearly $250.

The vast majority of the newly-released charges involve expenses like travel and meals — ranging from Cuban chain La Carreta in Miami to swanky Tao in New York — which were legitimate party expenses, according to the campaign, and which Harris called “totally in line with the kind of thing political committees” and campaigns spend money on.

As speaker-designate and later Speaker of the House, Rubio traveled often to raise money for the party and to advocate for various policy initiatives.

Rubio had the American Express card for four years; records related to the charges incurred between the end of 2006 and 2008 were obtained and made public by the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald during Rubio’s Senate run in 2010.

In 2012, a Florida state commission cleared Rubio of ethics violations related to his use of the state party credit card.

Rubio had the American Express card for four years; records related to the charges incurred between the end of 2006 and 2008 were obtained and made public by the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald during Rubio’s Senate run in 2010.

In 2012, a Florida state commission cleared Rubio of ethics violations related to his use of the state party credit card.

Even as Rubio insists he’s done nothing wrong, he has also acknowledged the issue opens him up to confusion from the public and attacks from his rivals.

“In hindsight, I wished that none of them had ever been charged,” wrote Rubio of the personal expenses. He added, in his memoir, “As often as it is remarked, it always bears repeating: in politics, appearances are as important as reality.”

“These statements are more than 10 years old, and the only people who ask about them today are the liberal media and our political opponents,” Harris said. “We are releasing them now because Marco has nothing to hide.”

One unaffiliated Republican strategist described it as “overblown:” “While I think this is an episode Rubio would avoid if he had the chance, it’s small potatoes compared to some of the things his opponents have yet to answer for.” 

This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com

Marco Rubio

Rubio campaign releases credit-card records after calls for disclosure