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.