Let’s give credit where credit is due. Richard Corcoran’s audacity in defending the indefensible is remarkable. Here’s how Corcoran shamelessly defends spending tens of thousands of dollars in Republican Party contributions on essentials such as expensive dinners, luxury hotel rooms and a chauffeur as the top aide to House Speaker Marco Rubio:
"It was a time in government when things were right, and people were doing things for the betterment of society and not for themselves,’’ he told the <i>Times/Herald</i> before defending living it up on the state party credit card as "more pure" than when lobbyists bought legislators meals. "I will not apologize for one penny of money we spent to push the special interests out the door.’’
What a wonderful sound bite. What confidence. What a shame it is so out of touch with reality it is hard to know where to start.
Spending political contributions on haircuts, airline fees for a canceled family trip to Spain and a Rubio family reunion at a Georgia resort reflects a selfless desire to improve society through public service? The money the state party raised from special interests that Corcoran and Rubio squandered on themselves was somehow cleaner than other special interest money flowing through Tallahassee?
The explanation for the $1,800 limo service in Washington for Rubio, Corcoran and other top Republicans also is hard to accept with a straight face. Corcoran said it saved the group time and they "never had to worry about parking.’’ They also never worried about hailing a taxi or using the subway.
Rubio and Corcoran used the state GOP credit card for thousands in personal expenses. They say they have reimbursed the state party, but the numbers don’t add up. They also don’t square with Internal Revenue Service requirements that party money be spent on political activities. Yet Corcoran refers to Rubio’s speakership as "Camelot,’’ an era brimming with brilliant initiatives. It was more like Scamalot, where Corcoran was paid $113,000 by Rubio’s political committee (that would be special interest cash) to write and promote the speaker’s book, <i>100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future</i>.
Now Rubio is running for the U.S. Senate, and Corcoran is running for a state House seat that covers parts of Pasco and Pinellas counties. It’s not surprising they want to return to government. As they know from experience, selfless public service has its perks.