Some VP hopefuls face personal issues

Several veep contenders have histories of financial stress

Published June 14, 2012 3:03PM (EDT)

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney picks his running mate, odds are he’ll select someone with far less wealth than his own. Unless he chooses Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, one of the richest women in America.

Romney’s latest financial disclosure report, showing a fortune of nearly $250 million, hardly compares to Whitman’s $1.4 billion — a figure compiled by Forbes in its list of the richest 400 Americans.

Some of the potential Republican vice presidential nominees are grappling with the same financial issues as many of their countrymen.

—In 2010, Deutsche Bank began foreclosure proceedings against Marco Rubio of Florida while he was successfully running for the Senate. Rubio, who had been the state House speaker, co-owned a Tallahassee home with another state lawmaker and the two failed to pay the full mortgage for five months. Rubio said the missed payments resulted from a dispute over the mortgage terms, and the matter was resolved with a payment of more than $9,500.

Rubio’s personal residence in Miami is under water, with his loan amount of $250,001-$500,000 greater than the home’s value, according to spokesman Alex Conant.

—Tax records show that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley repeatedly paid fines for not paying her income taxes on time. From 2005-2009, Haley and her husband paid $4,500 in penalties on late federal taxes owed. Their 2010 returns were the first in years that the Haleys filed on time and without late penalties.

—Several hopefuls are confronting college costs for their young children. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Rubio have opened college savings accounts.

—If Romney chooses Rubio and the Republicans win in November, Rubio may become the only vice president to still be paying off a college loan. His latest financial disclosure report said he owes lender Sallie Mae $100,001-$250,000.

The Associated Press reviewed financial disclosure reports and other publicly available data to obtain information about the finances of possible Republican vice presidential choices. Some have made their tax returns available. The financial information that states require from officials and office seekers varies widely, and generally is less revealing than federal reports — which require ranges of assets, income and liabilities.

Annual congressional financial disclosure reports were made public Thursday, listing ranges of assets and liabilities.

Information was obtained on Govs. Bob McDonnell of Virginia; Haley; Jindal; Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Susana Martinez of New Mexico, as well as Pawlenty, who ran for president but dropped out last August.

The latest and past financial data also was examined for the following members of Congress: Ryan; Thune; Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio; Ayotte and Rubio. All, in addition to Whitman, have been mentioned as possible running mates for Romney.

By Larry Margasak

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