Thursday, June 2, 2011

Marco Rubio returns to the classroom, teaching 'Florida politics' at FIU

Marco Rubio returns to the classroom, teaching "Florida politics" at Florida International University.
The Florida senator -- who previously taught political science at the Miami school -- is returning to academia while holding down his senatorial duties. He'll earn $24,000 a year for the gig -- which his office says has been cleared by the Senate Ethics Committee.
"I love teaching," the Miami Republican told the Shark Tank blog which first reported the new job. Spokesman Alex Burgos said Rubio was invited by FIU to take up a course he had taught from 2008 through 2010.
Rubio in May began teaching as a newly hired senior fellow. He'll co-teach four courses at the School of International and Public Affairs over the next year. His current class is "Florida Politics."
Rubio's ties to FIU were questioned during his Senate run in 2010 when critics questioned how he in 2008 landed a $69,000 a year, part-time job as trustees grappled with a budget shortfall that led to tuition hikes and the loss of 23 degree programs and 200 jobs.
He delivered the commencement speech there last Friday.
Rubio will co-teach the 4 classes with professors Dario Moreno and Nicol Rae and will earn $24,000.
His office says the Senate Ethics Committee, chaired by California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer, examined the arrangement and "concluded that his compensation is within the mid-range of the normal and customary amount set forth in the compensation schedule for Senior Fellows and for similar appointments at FIU."
In a letter to Rubio, the committee said the Republican freshman assured it that "no Senate resources or time will be used in connection" with the teaching job. Any raise or increase in job responsibilities would have to be reviewed by the committee.
Per Senate ethics rules, senators may not have "outside earned income" in a calendar year that exceeds 15 percent of the annual rate of basic pay for level II of the Executive Schedule -- or $26,955."
The committee said the university has pledged that Rubio's salary would be paid from the school's general funds "and not from earmarked grants, appropriations or dedicated contributions from other entities."
Rubio's office says the course will held on Monday and Friday mornings -- when the Senate is not generally not in session. And it says the part-time position will be shared with the other two professors, "providing flexibility in the event that unforeseen Senate business prevents Senator Rubio from being in Miami for a class."
Rubio's not the first to moonlight as a professor: then senator and now vice president Joe Biden began teaching Topics in Constitutional Law at the Widener School of Law in 1991.
The Delaware school still lists the former Delaware senator as an adjunct professor -- "currently on leave of absence."
-- Lesley Clark, Herald Washington Bureau.

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