Marco Rubio's personal finances clash with call for fiscal discipline - Florida - MiamiHerald.com When Rubio joined the Florida House of Representatives in 2000, he did not own a home, had few possessions and made $72,000 a year as a lawyer. In 2005, Rubio had access to a new source of campaign money: state GOP credit cards. He charged more than $100,000 from November 2006 to November 2008, much of it for travel expenses and thousands of dollars for meals. Rubio has insisted that the vast majority of those charges were for GOP business, and he directly paid any personal expenses, though after a St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald report, Rubio agreed to pay the party $2,400 for plane tickets he said he mistakenly double-billed. He has refused to release his party credit card records from 2005 and 2006. Rubio is adamant his use of the political committees and credit cards is above board and has denied reports that the IRS has opened an inquiry, part of a widening look at Republican lawmakers who had credit cards. As he accumulated power, Rubio's income was also growing. The $72,000 he made as a lawyer in 2000 climbed to $92,000 in 2003 then rose dramatically to $270,000 a year later when he locked down the race to become House speaker. During the time, he was employed by three separate law firms. ``I talk about fiscal conservatism in the context of government spending,'' he said. ``It's not in the context of some ideological religious adherence to some rigid ideology. It is in the context of the fact that our government spends more money than it takes in and you cannot do that over a sustained period of time without bankrupting your country.''