Is Rubio Leak Political Payback?

Leaked documents showing that Marco Rubio charged computer supplies, groceries, and products from a music equipment store and a wine store, among other items, to the Florida GOP may represent the first major bump in the road for the U.S. Senate candidate and conservative darling. But was the leak an act of political payback?

In a letter to the state party chair, Rubio accused former party chair Jim Greer — a close ally of Rubio’s rival, Gov. Charlie Crist — of being behind the leak. “It is clear these internal documents were taken from the RPOF by former Chairman Jim Greer, or someone working for him, and were leaked to the media by the Crist Campaign,” Rubio wrote, calling the leak, “an appalling act of political desperation.”Crist pleaded ignorance this morning. “I don’t know where it came from,” he told reporters, then added: “Actually, I do know where it came from. It came from Speaker Rubio.” Crist called the documents, “pretty disturbing.”

But it’s worth noting that Greer, the governor’s ally, was recently himself undone by embarrassing revelations about credit card spending.

Crist selected Greer in 2007 to run the state party. But the chairman’s tenure was marked by sluggish fundraising and lavish spending. In response, Greer made a public show last summer of cutting up his American Express card. But that didn’t stem the spending. The St. Petersburg Times reported recently that expenditures like a $100 flower arrangement for the wives of Greer and Crist, a $15,000 to charter a jet to George LeMieux’s swearing in as U.S. senator, and $1,800 for in-flight catering services all went on the card of a top Greer aide, Delmar Johnson, helping him rack up over a million American Express points. Meanwhile, the party was said to be “hemorrhaging money.” Greer eventually was forced out of the chairmanship last month.

Rubio recently called Greer’s leadership “a dark period” for the party, and joined calls for a full audit of the party’s credit card spending, saying he’d be willing to have his own Amex bills released — as long as it was part of a broader inquiry.

The new party chair, State Sen. John Thrasher, is not considered to be affiliated with either of the Crist or Rubio camps.

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