Marco Rubio Used His GOP Whip Position To Help Convicted Drug Trafficker Get A Real Estate License


Rubio Wrote Letter Of Recommendation For Brother-In-Law Without Disclosing Relationship

As the Republican Majority Whip in the Florida House of Representatives, Marco Rubio wrote a glowing letter of recommendation to help his brother-in-law, a convicted cocaine trafficker, get a real estate license. The letter, published today by the Washington Post, does not mention Rubio's relationship to Orlando Cicilia, a conflict of interest the Florida Division of Real Estate deserved to know when considering the recommendation.

The letter was written on Rubio's official, taxpayer funded House stationery that impressively states: Florida House of Representatives, Representative Marco Rubio, House Majority Whip. The majority whip is one of the top leadership positions.

"I have known Mr. Cicilia for over 25 years," Rubio wrote. "I recommend him for licensure without reservation."

"If I can be of further assistance in this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me," the letter concludes.

Rubio's brother-in-law had been out of jail just 20 months when he recommended him. His campaign manager told the Post that Rubio "believed Orlando should be judged on his own merits and felt it would be highly inappropriate, and could be perceived as exerting undue pressure, if his letter stated that Orlando was a relative."

The Post reports the letter "offers a glimpse of Rubio using his growing political power to assist his troubled brother-in-law and provides new insight into how the young lawmaker intertwined his personal and political lives." The paper adds, "Rubio did not disclose in the letter that Cicilia was married to his sister, Barbara, or that the former cocaine dealer was living at the time in the same West Miami home as Rubio’s parents."

Cicilia, according to the Post, "was convicted in a high-profile 1989 trial of distributing $15 million worth of cocaine. The federal government seized Cicilia’s home; the money has never been found."

The Post also notes the budget of the Florida Real Estate Commission "is controlled by the Florida legislature, where Rubio wielded considerable influence."


Image by Marc Nozell via Flickr and a CC license