NY Observer: Rubio–Brazen, Dishonest, Corrupt

This story first appeared in the NY Observer:

When it comes to sheer brazen corruption, chicanery and dishonesty there is one candidate who stands head and shoulders above everyone else and that is the right-wing Cuban-American and Tea Party darling Senator Marco Rubio of—naturally—the great State of Florida.

Mr. Rubio’s entire public image—the child of poor Cuban immigrants fleeing the repression of Castro’s Cuba who pulled himself up by his bootstraps and even now is a simple José Sixpack and family man—is less tethered to reality than The Wizard of Oz. For example, in his autobiography, An American Son: A Memoir, Mr. Rubio describes how he allegedly grew up poor and mowed the grass and walked dogs to make a bit of spare change. Technically this may be correct, but most poor kids don’t get paid by relatives heavily involved in narcotics trafficking and whose pets double as guard dogs for a drug cartel, as was the case with young Marco, a federal indictment shows.

But it was only after getting into politics that Mr. Rubio really started making big money—and he made it very quickly, with the help of a few intimate companions—especially after taking over as Florida House majority leader and whip in early 2003. In fact, his income nearly tripled during the two years—from $122,000 to $330,000, based on financial disclosure forms—and spiked again in 2008, which may be tied to the fact that he became Florida House speaker in November 2006. 

Mr. Rubio was able to cash in in spectacular fashion because Florida’s preposterously flaccid political rules allow politicians to simultaneously hold public office and work as “consultants” to major law and lobbying firms—much like the arrangement that recently landed Sheldon Silver in prison in New York. That means that they technically can’t “lobby” but do it anyway and call it “consulting.” So, for example, when Mr. Rubio became House majority leader in 2003 he went to work for the powerhouse lobbying firm of Broad and Cassell, which is precisely the point where disclosure forms reveal a giant spike in his income.

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