Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Florida) questionable spending habits may be coming back to haunt him.
The New York Times reports that while the senator was juggling multiple loans and mortgages, he bought a speedboat, a luxury sport car, and made questionable investment decisions.
Rubio has a history of accruing massive debts and then spending big when any money at all comes his way.
According to the Times, Rubio faced huge debts in 2012. Then a miracle appeared: he got an $US800,000 advance on a book deal. But instead of using all of the money responsibly, Rubio went out and bought a $US80,000 speedboat.
The Times notes that despite the senator’s financial woes, Rubio also leased a $US50,000 Audi Q7.
Rubio’s history of risky financial decisions has been well-documented since he was a young Florida State Assemblyman.
- In 2006, the Tampa Bay Times described Rubio as “barely solvent.”
- During his run for Senate several years later, the Florida senator was forced to defend his record after revelations that he put thousands of personal charges, including hair cuts, liquor store runs, and a $US10,000 family vacation on campaign and Florida Republican party credit cards.
- According to the Times, in the early 2000’s, the now-presidential candidate bought several homes, putting no money down.
- On the eve of his presidential announcement, Rubio cashed out his $US68,000 retirement savings to pay bills for a broken refrigerator, air-conditioning unit, and his kids’ private-school tuition. The transaction incurrs a significant tax penalty that could cost Rubio around $US24,000.
- Last week, Rubio’s camp announced that the senator finally sold a Tallahassee home that he bought with Florida state Rep. David Rivera. The house proved to be a bad investment — Rubio and Rivera sold the home for $US18,000 less then they originally paid for it.
Rubio’s troubling spending habits are well-known within Republican political circles. According to the Times, when former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s (R) team vetted Rubio as a potential vice presidential candidate, they found that the Florida senator’s financial decisions were bad enough that they could damage the campaign.
Rubio’s team is hoping that his financial struggles humanize him with voters. Rubio allies told the Times that the senator has struggled with money like most Americas, and that Rubio’s working-class upbringing left him with few tools to manage his wealth.
On Tuesday, the campaign lashed out at the Times.
“Now they think he doesn’t have enough money in his bank account. Of course, if instead he was worth millions, the Times would then attack him for being too rich, like they did to Mitt Romney,” Rubio spokesman Alex Conant told Politico in a statement.
“What the New York Times misses is that getting rich is not what has driven Senator Rubio’s, financial decisions. His goal at this stage in his life is to provide his four children with a good home, a quality education, and a safe and happy upbringing,” Conant said.
When asked about his financial decisions on Fox News, Rubio blamed the high costs of running for president and unforeseen family costs.
“My refrigerator broke down,” Rubio said. “That was $US3,000. I had to replace the air-conditioning unit in our home. My kids all go to school, and they are getting closer to college, and school’s getting more expensive.”
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