U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio charged more than $7,000 in personal expenses on a Republican Party credit card while he was a state lawmaker in Florida 10 years ago, but his campaign says he has reimbursed the party for all the charges.
The campaign's defense of Rubio's spending practices came just days after Republican rival and billionaire Donald Trump publicly ridiculed Rubio, saying he was "a disaster with his credit cards" who "certainly lives beyond his means." The New York Times reported that another rival, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, also raised the issue of Rubio's spending in questioning his fitness for higher office.
The campaign said Rubio's personal expenses included more than $3,700 to a tile store, and other charges made at a hotel and car rental agency in Las Vegas. A campaign statement also said the Las Vegas charges were linked to a business trip that he extended to visit relatives. It did not explain the other expenses on the card.
On Wednesday, Rubio told ABC News that "his only debt in the world" is the mortgage on his home. "I obviously don't come from a wealthy family," he said.
Rubio's finances also played out during his 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate, when critics questioned details of his home mortgage payments and a liquidated retirement account.
In a report earlier this year, the Times said campaign managers for 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney flagged Rubio's spending record while vetting him as a possible vice presidential running mate.
Romney eventually tapped U.S. Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, forming a ticket that lost the election to the incumbents, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.