Whistleblower alleges Florida GOP illegally helped Crist campaign

posted at 10:12 am on August 19, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Charlie Crist got an illegal boost from the Florida Republican Party during the primary campaign while losing to Marco Rubio, a whistle-blower claims, putting new attention on the relationship between Crist and his handpicked party chair, Jim Greer. Susan Wright got fired after complaining about lavish spending by state party leadership, but yesterday publicly expanded her testimony to include potentially criminal actions to benefit Crist and hold off the outsider campaign of Rubio. The allegation is contained within her wrongful-termination lawsuit filed against the Republican Party of Florida:

Says Wright’s complaint: “The Republican Party also began to use party money to support the senatorial campaign of Charlie Crist. The Republican Party was not supposed to financially support a candidate until after the candidate won the primary. Plaintiff realized that what the Republican Party was doing was illegal. Plaintiff reported these illegal uses of Republican Party resources to her supervisor (Richard) Swarttz.”

Crist has treated Greer, under indictment in a fraud scheme, like a dear close friend — unlike everyone else who has become a political liability for the governor. Crist just this week agreed to reimburse Greer’s $9,600 campaign donations to pay Greer’s legal fees (more here). Meanwhile, Republicans want their money back from Crist because they said he misled them when he bolted the party because he was being whipped so badly by former House Speaker Marco Rubio.

This also puts new light on Crist’s sudden decision to pay Greer back his $9600 in contributions. Initially, when Greer’s letter pleading for the funds was revealed, Crist questioned its authenticity. Within a couple of days, though, he refunded the money to Greer despite refusing to do so with other Republican donors who have repeatedly demanded their donations returned after Crist’s exit from the Republican Party.

Speaking of which, Crist told Tavis Smiley last night on PBS that the Republican Party “coerced” and “maltreated” him, forcing Crist to leave the party, an allegation at which Cubachi scoffs:

Governor Charlie Crist was on Tavis Smiley’s show last night. Smiley told Crist it seems to him republicans “coerced” and “maltreated” Crist, pushing him to leave the republican party. Now that is an idiotic statement. The NRSC, Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, and Mitch McConnell among others, staunchly supported Crist, while leaving his republican opponent Marco Rubio out to solely campaign for his political life against the establishment. Rubio triumphed in the polls, and Crist left the party to save his political hide.

It’s not just idiotic, it’s patently absurd and provably so. The “party” did everything it could to support Crist. The NRSC took a big gamble in endorsing Crist in a contested primary within minutes of his announcement for the race. Crist bailed out of the GOP because voters didn’t like him as much as Marco Rubio.  The only reason Crist remained competitive for as long as he did in the primary was because the party establishment propped him up.

If the allegations in this lawsuit are valid, then we now know just how much the party establishment worked to prop Crist’s primary candidacy up, and perhaps why Crist decided to honor his refund request after all in this one instance.


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Can they sue him for return of the contributions? And wouldn’t that in effect, make Crist unable to run?

upinak on August 19, 2010 at 10:16 AM

Snake

sandee on August 19, 2010 at 10:17 AM

I think Crist is going to self destruct… he should have saved his money for a 2012 run…

ninjapirate on August 19, 2010 at 10:17 AM

Off Topic: Obama’s go on vacation to Martha’s Vineyard

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/president-obama-family-marthas-vineyard-summer-vacation/story?id=11428253

While jobless claims hit their biggest high since late 2009.

Why am I not surprised?

jazzmo on August 19, 2010 at 10:17 AM

Can they sue him for return of the contributions? And wouldn’t that in effect, make Crist unable to run?

upinak on August 19, 2010 at 10:16 AM

Doesn’t matter. He’s already preemptively dealing with that by hitting up Democrat donors for money.

Doughboy on August 19, 2010 at 10:17 AM

Ever since the oil geyser disappeared from the front pages and thus, no more pictures of Charlie taking “command” walking the beaches, Floridians will see the real Charlie, on even footing with Rubio: accordingly, Charlie is dropping.

ChrisB on August 19, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Doesn’t matter. He’s already preemptively dealing with that by hitting up Democrat donors for money.

Doughboy on August 19, 2010 at 10:17 AM

Fraud doesn’t matter?

upinak on August 19, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Sorry Charlie….

ted c on August 19, 2010 at 10:20 AM

I guess this is why some of us are so furious with the national republican party. I refuse to give them any $, but will donate to the candidate of my choice.

Bambi on August 19, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Yet another datum point on why I’m not a Republican: just as corrupt as the Democratic party. I’ll only support candidates who actually believe in the American Ideal and America.

Charlie Crist does not.

rbj on August 19, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Good find by cubachi…

So, according to Crist, HE was mistreated and coerced?!? By the party? And THAT’S what forced him to go indy.

Oh, brother.

JetBoy on August 19, 2010 at 10:23 AM

The travels, particularly the trip to Martha’s Vineyard, have been criticized in some circles as being too lavish at a time when many Americans are struggling economically – claims which the White House does not find concerning.

From your referenced article Jazmo.
Of course they don’t find it concerning, they don’t give a flying flip what WE think. The imperial presidential family is way above all of the poor people loosing 500,000 jobs this week.

Bambi on August 19, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Hey Mr. Morrissey, Crist didn’t say he was “coerced” and “maltreated”, good old Tavis Smiley came up with that talking point.

Cindy Munford on August 19, 2010 at 10:26 AM

I actually posted a “time-line” of the events leading up to this story:

“The Crist campaign also reported nearly $17,000 in “reimbursement” to the state party’s credit card, which three experts called a potential violation of federal campaign finance law.”
http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2010/03/crist-campaigns-defends-questionable-fla-gop-card-charges.html

“Feds asking about Crist ties to FL GOP spending” (Not Marco Rubio’s)
Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2010/04/feds-asking-about-crist-to-fl-gop-spending.html#ixzz0wy9IgdHv

“Jim Greer’s lawyer says Gov. Crist okayed diversion of GOP funds”
http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/gubernatorial/jim-greers-lawyer-says-gov-crist-okayed-diversion-of-gop-funds/1100322

Jim Greer: “I know sending the money back is hard, but with what has happened it my be politically beneficial for you to do.”
http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2010/08/jim-greer-asks-crist-for-his-money-back.html#more

“When Jim Greer Asks for Money, Charlie Crist Pulls Out Checkbook”
http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/blog/when-jim-greer-asks-money-charlie-crist-asks-how-much

IF I were an investigative reporter I’d be searching for a Quid Pro Quo.

GOP Whistleblower lawsuit spells trouble for Charlie Crist camp: http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2010/08/gop-whistleblower-lawsuit-spells-trouble-for-charlie-crist-camp.html

It certainly smells like smoke to me.

Nelsa on August 19, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Fraud doesn’t matter?

upinak on August 19, 2010 at 10:19 AM

It matters. Of course, everything about Charlie Crist is fraudulent.

Doughboy on August 19, 2010 at 10:28 AM

What a walking, takling, piece of absolute rotten garbage Charlie Crist is.

Anyone who wants this guy to have any influence over his life, whatsoever, is a complete idiot.

I wouldn’t trust Crist with a $5 loan.

Lying, worthlessly stupid little weasel.

Where do politicians like Crist emerge from? Sewers?

I’ve been in and around the US military for 22+ years. We have thousands of officers with intelligence, ability, and integrity and they know how the government works to boot.

Any one of them would make a vastly better governor than Crist or any of his ilk, and most certainly a better president then who we’re saddled with now.

The American voter really needs to start thinking about who they’re voting for. This isn’t a damn game.

NoDonkey on August 19, 2010 at 10:29 AM

With HotAir’s TMZ-esque infatuation with sleaze politician Crist…why have you not looked into his shady US Sugar/Everglades biofuel land deals?

There’s more than enough there to take Crist down for good.

selias on August 19, 2010 at 10:31 AM

It matters. Of course, everything about Charlie Crist is fraudulent.

Doughboy on August 19, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Ahh ever so true.

upinak on August 19, 2010 at 10:31 AM

The good news? The GOP insiders are losing their control over the party vis a vis the candidates who contest the general election.

The bad news? This will be used to paint the GOP as corrupt. Maybe the dems can get a judge to rule that the GOP should be prevented from running candidates in the fall. It worked for Ronnie Earle in TX22 a few years back….

Vashta.Nerada on August 19, 2010 at 10:32 AM

Crist has always been like a fish out of water, flipping and flopping all over the place. I can’t wait to see Rubio blow all the water out of Charlies little pond!

Douchbag!

FloridaBill on August 19, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Ed, Why are you continually racist against orange people?

Johnnyreb on August 19, 2010 at 10:35 AM

This will be used to paint the GOP as corrupt.

Paint?

dtestard on August 19, 2010 at 10:43 AM

Charlie is such a slimey sleeze ball.

stenwin77 on August 19, 2010 at 10:52 AM

No comment from the St Peter Times?

Kissmygrits on August 19, 2010 at 10:56 AM

A Quinepiac poll today trumpeted by MSNBC puts Crist ahead again.
Word to Mario – stay off that network, especially Scarborough’s show. He seems to thing Crist winning as an Independent/ex-Republican is going to validate his existance or something.

Marcus on August 19, 2010 at 11:01 AM

This is why we should donate directly to individual candidates rather than to the Party. Shenanigans like what Crist did won’t occur.

Conservative Samizdat on August 19, 2010 at 11:06 AM

The NRSC, Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, and Mitch McConnell among others, staunchly supported Crist, while leaving his republican opponent Marco Rubio out to solely campaign for his political life against the establishment. Rubio triumphed in the polls, and Crist left the party to save his political hide.

One of the reasons I really want to see Rubion win: He will have NO political debts to the Republican leadership or the RINO wing of the party.

novaculus on August 19, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Cheese and rice, another total jerk off politician that really needs to get the eff out of our lives ……… for the good of this country.

Just. Go. Away ……….. NOW !!!!

Jerome Horwitz on August 19, 2010 at 11:17 AM

I don’t understand things anymore. This guy is a serial liar who breaks every promise he makes, sometimes within days of making them. He betrays supporters, collects campaign money under false pretenses and refuses to return it. He’s closely linked to corruption and corrupt characters. He’s a laughable caricature of the phony and slick politician worthy of a Rockford Files episode.

Yet he’s still ahead of Rubio in the polls.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!?

rrpjr on August 19, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Fraud doesn’t matter?

upinak on August 19, 2010 at 10:19 AM

It matters. Of course, everything about Charlie Crist is fraudulent.

Doughboy on August 19, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Nothing gets in the way of Progessivism. NOTHING!

listens2glenn on August 19, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Crist is a snake, I don’t doubt this is true at all. We who were watching KNEW the state GOP were the typical problem type of establishment folks who look down on all the regular folk. It’s been an embarrassment to have Crist as gov, can’t wait for him to be sent home.

GO RUBIO!

Minorcan Maven on August 19, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Wright had access to expense reports, contracts, pay information and vacation time for nearly every party worker. She saw firsthand internal party documents detailing the big charges, from $1,290 at the Palazzo Las Vegas Resort Hotel Casino to the nearly $5,000 that Greer and his wife, Lisa, spent for a getaway in exclusive Fisher Island, home of Gov. Charlie Crist’s wife.

Five-thousand friggin’ dollars?” she exclaimed when she asked about the purpose of the expense.

She said she never got an answer, only demands and insinuations that she be silent.

The earlier report on what she went through.

tree hugging sister on August 19, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Wish I could go on a vacation…

reshas1 on August 19, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Crist looks like he should be doing Metamucil commercials – his color makes him look like something is backed up.

AubieJon on August 19, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Wright had access to expense reports, contracts, pay information and vacation time for nearly every party worker. She saw firsthand internal party documents detailing the big charges, from $1,290 at the Palazzo Las Vegas Resort Hotel Casino to the nearly $5,000 that Greer and his wife, Lisa, spent for a getaway in exclusive Fisher Island, home of Gov. Charlie Crist’s wife.

Five-thousand friggin’ dollars?” she exclaimed when she asked about the purpose of the expense.

She said she never got an answer, only demands and insinuations that she be silent.

Anpretty thorough earlier report on what she went through.

tree hugging sister on August 19, 2010 at 12:08 PM

This just gets better by the minute.

wi farmgirl on August 19, 2010 at 12:11 PM

What’s not to like about a dishonest orange weasel who whines and complains about being mistreated by the party he betrayed?

forest on August 19, 2010 at 12:43 PM

I’ve been in and around the US military for 22+ years. We have thousands of officers with intelligence, ability, and integrity and they know how the government works to boot.

Any one of them would make a vastly better governor than Crist or any of his ilk, and most certainly a better president then who we’re saddled with now.

The American voter really needs to start thinking about who they’re voting for. This isn’t a damn game.

NoDonkey on August 19, 2010 at 10:29 AM

No. Those thousands of officers need to really start thinking about running for office. This isn’t a damn game.

By your own admission, we have the right people doing something else.

AnotherOpinion on August 19, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Hey Mr. Morrissey, Crist didn’t say he was “coerced” and “maltreated”, good old Tavis Smiley came up with that talking point.

Cindy Munford on August 19, 2010 at 10:26 AM

Yeah, it was Tavis Smiley who came up with that, but we all know that Tavis Smiley is a moron.

Captain Kirock on August 19, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Captain Kirock on August 19, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Certainly seems to be.

Cindy Munford on August 19, 2010 at 2:09 PM

Crist whining is good — means Charlie’s numbers are now going down. Cannot wait for November 2nd when Crist loses — what is he going to do then? Maybe he can get his good friend Obama to give him a job!

PhiKapMom on August 19, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Man, Crist has been really trying to prove he has what it takes to be a Democrat! Ethically, morally, and egotistically he is just what you’d expect from a true blue Democrat!

chickasaw42 on August 19, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Nothing to see here – Charlie Crist will be a nobody after the tremendous whipping that Marco is going to put on his tanned arse.

HondaV65 on August 19, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Republican Party “coerced” and “maltreated” him, forcing Crist to leave the party,

Would that be the part that wanted him to govern like a conservative?

Slowburn on August 19, 2010 at 5:25 PM

JetBoy on August 19, 2010 at 10:23 AM

Don’t woory JB, Crist can still pull this off and bring home the goods for you.

hawkdriver on August 19, 2010 at 6:27 PM

worry…

hawkdriver on August 19, 2010 at 6:28 PM

Bah to the GOP – endorsing Crist was a horrible gaffe – it revealed them for who they are.

disa on August 19, 2010 at 8:05 PM