Atwater blames Thrasher for not giving up GOP credit card statementsby Dara Kam | March 1st, 2010
Senate President Jeff Atwater said he is more than willing to hand over his Republican Party of Florida-issued American Express credit card statements but that the party’s new chairman, Sen. John Thrasher, won’t do it.
Reporters asked Atwater, who is running statewide for chief financial officer, about the notorious AmEx spending that’s embroiled former House Speaker and U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio and former House Speaker Ray Sansom.
“I asked Chairman Thrasher if he would release the statements of the RPOF credit card that was assigned to me and he said no,” Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, said. “He said he has his internal process going on…I have asked him and he has said no. That is the party’s card. It is not my card. I do not have the statements.”
When pressed about why Atwater did not request the statements, he insisted he could not.
“I’m not the card. That would be RPOF. It’s RPOF’s card. So if RPOF were to request those statements I assume they could get them. At this point, it is the party’s card. And I have asked the chairman would you release any card statements that were associated with me? I have no qualms about what anyone would see on that and he said no, we’re doing our process.”
Atwater had one of the AmEx cards while he was recruiting Republican Senate candidates and raising money for the party in 2007 and 2008. He says he used the card strictly for party-related business.
The cards, issued to an undisclosed group of top elected Republicans and party officials, have been a continuing source of embarrassment as details have emerged of lavish spending by former Chairman Jim Greer (including that $3,600 meal at Brasserie L’Escalier), indicted former House Speaker Ray Sansom (his $173,000 in AmEx charges included a family trip to Europe and an $893 Starbucks tab) and former exec director Delmar Johnson ($133,763 in a single month last summer).
Rubio got his turn in the AmEx spotlight last week when someone, presumably a supporter of opponent Gov. Charlie Crist’s slumping GOP Senate bid, leaked records of Rubio’s $125,000 in charges from 2006 to 2008. No Greer-scale extravagances emerged, but the records showed a $133.75 visit to Churchill’s Barber Shop in Miami that Rubio said he paid himself.