Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioGroups unendorse Grayson after domestic violence allegations Trump postpones Hispanic roundtable Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense MORE (R-Fla.) helped his brother-in-law, who was convicted for cocaine trafficking, receive his real estate license while the GOP presidential hopeful was serving as majority whip in the Florida House of Representatives, according to a report by The Washington Post.
Rubio penned a letter on Statehouse letterhead to the Florida Division of Real Estate in 2002, recommending Orlando Cicilia “without reservation” to receive his real estate license.
The brief letter said Rubio knew Cicilia for more than 25 year without mentioning that Cicilia was married to Rubio’s sister. His brother-in-law had been released from jail about a year and a half prior to the recommendation.
Todd Harris, Rubio’s campaign adviser, sent an email to The Post defending Rubio's letter: “Marco has recommended scores of Floridians for various professional positions and after Orlando paid his debt to society, Marco was happy to recommend him as well."
Harris continued, “He 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.”
Cicilia was arrested in 1987 for dealing cocaine and served an almost 12-year sentence in federal prison. At the time he sought his real estate license, Cicilia was living with Rubio’s parents.
Florida doesn’t bar felons from obtaining real estate licenses, but Cicilia’s particular conviction presented a more difficult obstacle. Rubio’s brother-in-law requested a hearing in July 2002 and submitted three recommendation letters, including the one from Rubio.
Cicilia’s application was approved the day after the hearing. Rubio also used his brother-in-law as his real estate agent when purchasing a new house.