There is a report on Saturday that goes into great detail about how former House Speaker Marco Rubio used political committees to "spend big money with little scrutiny."
The Times/Herald went into great detail about Rubio's use of two committees of continuous existence and noted that a lot of money was spent on expenses but not political contributions like committees set up by other legislators. The story also notes that a great deal of money went for unidentified credit card expenses.
But while Rubio's use of CCE money may have been out of scale compared to other legislators, he is hardly alone in having expenses picked up by CCE's nor is this the first time his use of CCE has been noted.
A 2003 story in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune found that more than $2.8 million had flowed into those accounts over a four-year period from special interest donors and the money being used for campaign contributions and to "reimburse expenses largely incurred by legislators themselves."
The story noted how money was used for dry-cleaning bills, trips to Sam's and Costco, oil changes and how an account controlled by House Speaker Johnnie Byrd spent money on "literature/periodicals" and "office equipment."
One lawmaker even used his CCE to pay rent for his home in Tallahassee.
That story also disclosed that at the time some lawmakers - including Rubio - failed to follow IRS regulations and reveal information about donors in federal filings. State law back in 2003 allowed the names of some CCE donors to be kept secret in state filings.
A March 7, 2004 story in The Miami Herald detailed how Rubio spent $6,665 "none of it out of his own pocket" to charter a plane so he could make a meeting in Tampa to try to nail down his bid for speakership.
A February 2007 story in The Miami Herald reported that a CCE controlled by Sen. Mike Fasano had reimbursed him thousands of dollars in expenses including $550 for a tab for a meeting held at a steakhouse at the Saddlebrook Resort north of Tampa.
This 2009 story from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune pointed that lawmakers were still using CCE's for various expenses. Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, for example was reimbursed nearly $25,000 for travel expenses over a two and a half year period. Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, has also said travel expenses picked up. Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, had hotel rooms, taxi rides and airplane rides paid for out of CCE.
That same story also pointed out the Florida Hispanic Legislative Caucus - of which Rubio was a member - used money it got from contributions on various expenses. The caucus, for example, spent nearly $1,900 dollars on meals from three Tallahassee restaurants on the last day of the 2008 session where Rubio was speaker.