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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Senator Marco Rubio - a scandal in waiting

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is simply not vetted enough to qualify for being a national presidential candidate. There're too many questions about his use of undue influence with the prison release of his brother-in-law and mismanagement of his finances. Americans can't trust him as a national candidate.
Senator Rubio talks a lot but he doesn't answer questions about his financial management, use of undue-influence and laziness about doing his day job.

Now, Marco Rubio's relative is making news about illegal drug dealing.  In fact, the Business Insider blog reports:
Florida Senator Marco Rubio's Brother-In-Law Is A Convicted Drug Trafficker

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a presidential candidate in the Republican party, who is often mentioned as a potential vice presidential nominee, could find his political prospects tarnished by news that his sister and her husband were caught up in a South Florida drug trafficking raid in the 1980s. Now, Rubio is facing questions about his brother-in-law but, typically, the Senator is side-stepping the facts.  In his autobiography Rubio made reference to his brother in law. The Washington Post reported that Rubio's brother-in-law spent 12 years in prioson for his roll as second in command in an illicit operation, which sold more than $75 million worth of cocaine. Rather curiously, Rubio's brother-in-law was released from prison four days after Rubioo was re-elected in 2000 to the florida House of Representatives. Rubio says he had no role in his brother-in-law's release, but he would not say whether or not he had received financial support from his brother in law.

An investigation by Univision found that Rubio's brother-in-law, Orlando Cicilia, was arrested during a major antinarcotics operation in 1987. Rubio was a 16-year old high school student at the time.

According to public records, Cicilia was arrested after federal law enforcement seized the Miami home where he lived with Barbara Rubio, Senator Rubio's sister. Barbara Rubio was not arrested or indicted. Cicilia was sentenced to 25 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana.

The arrest was part of "Operation Cobra," a federal crackdown on a Florida drug smuggling ring that killed a federal informer and chopped up his body, according to a NYT story published at the time. The story reports that the ring, led by Cuban American Mario Tabraue, paid $150,000 in bribes to the Key West police chief and Miami-Dade county officials, and used Miami police officers to collect, count, and disburse drug profits.

Cicilia  currently lives in Senator Rubio's mother's home in southwest Miami and is listed as a co-owner of the house.

Moreover, Rubio’s financial problems come back to haunt him
CNBC’s Becky Quick reminded Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) of his “bookkeeping” troubles during the GOP candidates debate: 

“You accidentally inter-mingled campaign money with your personal money. You faced foreclosure on a second home that you bought. And just last year, you liquidated a $68,000 retirement fund. That’s something that cost you thousands of dollars in taxes and penalties. In terms of all of that, it raises the question whether you have the maturity and wisdom to lead this $17 trillion economy. What do you say?”

The Florida senator replied, “Well, you just listed a litany of discredited attacks from Democrats and my political opponents, and I’m not gonna waste 60 seconds detailing them all.”

The problem, of course, is that the question – literally, every detail – was entirely correct. Not one of these claims has ever been “discredited.” Rubio’s attempt to deflect an uncomfortable inquiry was, by any fair measure, a lie.

And now that Rubio has been elevated to the top tier in the GOP race, the issue is starting to become more important. Just yesterday, Donald Trump told reporters, in reference to Rubio, “For years I’ve been hearing that his credit cards are a disaster.” Jeb Bush added that the issue is “fair game.”

The Tampa Bay Times has moved the ball forward with this new report. It has become legend in Florida political circles, a missing chapter in Marco Rubio’s convoluted financial story: two years of credit card transactions from his time in the state House, when he and other Republican leaders freely spent party money.

Details about the spending, which included repairs for Rubio’s family minivan, emerged in his 2010 U.S. Senate race. But voters got only half the story because the candidate refused to disclose additional records.

Some of this is already beyond the realm of “allegations.” Rubio has acknowledged his misuse of a Republican Party credit card to purchase personal items, including using party money to repair his minivan, and charging $10,000 to attend a family reunion. The Floridian conceded several years ago that the story “looks bad,” adding, “I shouldn’t have done it that way.”

There was also an incident in which he double-billed the party and taxpayers for airline travel, though he paid back the money.

But the Tampa Bay Times’ reporting yesterday tells us the story is incomplete due to details Rubio has not yet disclosed.

Charlie Crist, Rubio’s opponent in 2010, tried to make the spending an issue, but Rubio rode a tea party wave to blow past the then Republican governor, the start of national attention that has propelled him into the presidential race. Through it all, Rubio has refused to provide credit card statements from 2005 and 2006.

“Those credit card statements are an internal party matter. I’m not going to release them,” he told the editorial board of the Times-Union of Jacksonville in September 2010.

Attempts by reporters and Rubio’s rivals to obtain them have fallen flat, leading to speculation about what they might contain.
The Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell added over the weekend:
[Rubio] entered the Florida Legislature nearly broke and with $30,000 in credit-card debt – but managed to live high on the hog thanks to a GOP credit card funded largely by special interests that wanted legislative favors. […]

Rubio has admitted most of this, repaying improper expenditures and expressing regret for what he called mistakes. But last week facts became “discredited attacks.” […] Rubio’s baggage is his actual track record – much of which runs counter to the virtues he claims to embrace.

Dear Senator Rubio, with great hype comes great responsibility. Ready or not, the scrutiny is coming.

Sun-Journal writes:  Rubio has missed more votes than any other senator this year. His seat is regularly empty for floor votes, committee meetings and intelligence briefings. He says he’s MIA from his J-O-B because he finds it frustrating and wants to be president, instead.
“I’m not missing votes because I’m on vacation,” he told CNN on Sunday. “I’m running for president so that the votes they take in the Senate are actually meaningful again.”
Sorry, senator, but Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job. We’ve got serious problems with clogged highways, eroding beaches, flat Social Security checks and people who want to shut down the government.
If you hate your job, senator, follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner and resign it.
Marco-Rubio has too many quesitons in his political resume to become the leader of the free world.  By evading answers to the questions raised about his qualifications and family scandals, Rubio is inviting a cascade suspicions.
Therefore, Rubio should withdraw from the Republican campaign so the candidates with real leadership credentials can be heard.  (By the way, it would also be nice if Rubio took Donald Trump out of the campaign, along with him, as he walks off the political stage.)



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