Republican Party and Their American Express “Corporate” Card

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Here is a nice little weekend rant.

The Miami Herald just posted an article about the $458,000 in credit card charges that was racked up by 3 Republican leaders. They are former House Speaker Marco Rubio, his now-indicted successor, Ray Sansom, and the man set to lead the chamber in November, Dean Cannon. These charges were made to American Express credit cards, which is the Republican’s credit card of choice!

The article went on to talk about how lavish some of these expenses were. But most of it was related to “fundraising expenses” – though they included some private jets to fundraisers, $1000 dinners and some expensive stays at 5-star hotels. The tone of the article was really about how lavish these expenses. And to a certain extent, it is correct.

Rather than being too pissed off with these politicians, I actually kind off understand their spending although some of it might be over the top. Being a former salesperson, I’ve been issued corporate business credit cards before. In fact, all the corporate cards I’ve been issued are from Amex! They seemed to have cornered this market. And I’ve taken business class flights, definitely stayed at 5-star hotels and had really expensive dinners. I think folks who have not been in the big corporate world will never understand this – but entertainment and building business relationships are key to winning business. In fact, the firm that I’ve worked for always say never cut back on entertainment. And I’ve know first hand and the more you entertain, the more business you get.

So rather than going off on these “Republican Officials” about their lavish spending, I’m more curious about some other stuff – like

Do individual Cardholders Earn Membership Reward Points? – Here’s something many folks may not realize. Amex allows companies to choose whether to let their employees earn membership reward points for themselves. For example, my first firm I worked for allowed me to earn membership reward points on my corporate card spending. Needless to say, I racked out lots of points (enough to earn me a few free international business class flights).

But the second firm I worked for also gave me an Amex business card. But I could not earn individual membership points for the things I charged to the card! That really pissed me off as an employee!

Yet, I know of some international government entities that issue Amex Business Cards and the points that the employees earn go to that entity and they have discretion as to how to use them. They can only envy at us folks who can rack up the miles!

In this case, I’m more than willing to bet that the individual Republican members can earn membership reward points (am sure they will give themselves this privilege!)

Why don’t the Democrats have a “corporate credit card”? – According to the article, the Dems raise less money than the republicans and they do not have any official “business credit cards”. I guess with Obama raising money through net, there is less need for “wining and dinning!” And perhaps after seeing the credit card statement leaks, they will be less incline to want to have any Amex Corporate Card in the future! (still it doesn’t mean that just because they have no corporate card means they are not as extravagant or lavish in their entertainment expense!). But if I were the Dems, i’d also have the party issue Amex Charge Cards and rack up some membership points myself since you have to pay their expenses anyway (better expense tracking!)

If I were Amex, I would be hounding them!

How dare politicians grill the auto makers for fly private jet when they themselves fly private jet! – you know what? I have no problem with politicians wining and dining for fundraisers and donations. Afterall, they need them to run their party. And having come from working with big corporations, I do understand how entertainment works in the business world. They best quote from the end of the article says “if you want to raise serious money, you can’t take donors to Burger King!”. But how hypocritical of politicians when they criticized the automakers’ CEO for flying private jets to their congressional hearing! They accused these CEOs of not running these companies to the ground and having the audacity to fly private jets when they themselves do the same! In fact, congress has run up so much debt in our country that they have not right to even bring that up. Just plain old grandstanding! Collectively, Congress has run up more debt than all automakers and financial firms losses combined!

In the corporate world, shareholders do not give a toss about entertainment expenses as long as management is profitable and delivers earnings growth. I guess in the political world, we as shareholders and board of directors have been pretty lenient on them! We let “politicians” get away with it even if the ink is RED!

So, hope this makes for a nice weekend read!

And while we are talking kind of politics here, check out my good friend Len Penzo’s post on whether low income drivers should receive subsidies to use toll express lanes

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One Response to “Republican Party and Their American Express “Corporate” Card”

  1. Eric Says:

    I think companies have every right to claim the points because they are the ones paying the bill.

    Still, as the employee, you would be disappointed since you don’t get the freebies.

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