The New York Times this weekend did a piece on Sen. Marco Rubio’s father-son, benefactor-beneciary relationship with a billionaire auto dealer named Norman Braman. I thought you might want to have a look.
From the piece:
As Mr. Rubio has ascended in the ranks of Republican politics, Mr. Braman has emerged as a remarkable and unique patron. He has bankrolled Mr. Rubio’s campaigns. He has financed Mr. Rubio’s legislative agenda. And, at the same time, he has subsidized Mr. Rubio’s personal finances, as the rising politician and his wife grappled with heavy debt and big swings in their income.
Now, with Mr. Rubio vaulting ahead of much of the Republican presidential field, Mr. Braman is poised to play an even larger part and become Mr. Rubio’s single biggest campaign donor, with an expected outlay of approximately $10 million for the senator’s pursuit of the White House.
A detailed review of their relationship shows that Mr. Braman, 82, has left few corners of Mr. Rubio’s world untouched. He hired Mr. Rubio, then a Senate candidate, as a lawyer; employed his wife to advise the Braman family’s philanthropic foundation; helped cover the cost of Mr. Rubio’s salary as an instructor at a Miami college; and gave Mr. Rubio access to his private plane.
The money has flowed both ways. Mr. Rubio has steered taxpayer funds to Mr. Braman’s favored causes, successfully pushing for an $80 million state grant to finance a genomics center at a private university and securing $5 million for cancer research at a Miami institute for which Mr. Braman is a major donor.
Even in an era dominated by super-wealthy donors, Mr. Braman stands out, given how integral he has been not only to Mr. Rubio’s political aspirations but also to his personal finances.
In an interview, Mr. Rubio described Mr. Braman as a father figure who had given him advice on everything from what books to read to how to manage a staff. After Mr. Rubio’s father died in 2010, Mr. Braman called every other day to check in.
Pressed on his financial ties to Mr. Braman, Mr. Rubio said in an interview that he saw no ethical issue. “What is the conflict?” he asked. “I don’t ever recall Norman Braman ever asking for anything for himself.”
Not sure what to make of this. Not sure I like it. What do you think?