Groups bash Marco Rubio for 'selling out' on Puerto Rican aid
A coalition of liberal groups have released a Spanish-language radio ad and two digital ads to criticize incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for not supporting aid to Puerto Rico last year and, instead, for "selling out" to a "billionaire donor."
Officials from the Florida Education Association, Organize Now and VAMOS4PR announced the ad campaign Tuesday.
"When Puerto Rico needed leadership the most to help resolve the humanitarian crisis, Marco Rubio broke his promise and shamefully put his billionaire campaign contributors’ harmful agenda first," FEA President Joanne McCall said.
The groups base their attack on a New York Times article from December. It said that Rubio initially wanted to sponsor bankruptcy legislation for Puerto Rico but then changed his mind "three weeks after a fund-raiser hosted by a hedge-fund founder."
The Times reported: "Mr. Rubio’s move was welcome news for bondholders, some of whom have supported his presidential campaign." A Rubio spokesman told the newspaper at the time that Rubio's position on the legislation was unrelated to campaign donations he received.
AFT Solidarity -- the political action committee for the American Federation of Teachers -- spent $135,000 on the ad campaign, according to an independent expenditure report filed with the Federal Election Commission today.
AFT Solidarity said in a statement that 1 million Puerto Ricans in Florida have family on the island.
Both the FEA and the AFT previously endorsed Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy, who's challenging Rubio in November.
"Unfortunately AFT suffers from the Patrick Murphy syndrome of being out of touch with Florida's families," Rubio spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement. "Marco's record of service speaks for itself -- from leading efforts to help Puerto Rico out of its financial crisis, to awarding the Borinqueneers with the Congressional Gold Medal, and making student loans more affordable."
You can listen to AFT's radio ad here, and here are the two digital ads that AFT Solidarity will run online:
*This post has been updated with comment from Rubio's campaign.