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Crist: Probe of Jim Greer is 'terribly disturbing'

Gov. Charlie Crist said the revelation that former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer is the subject of a criminal investigation following a party audit is "terribly disturbing." Greer was Crist's hand-picked candidate to lead the state party following the governor's election in 2006, and Crist remained publicly loyal to Greer until it became obvious in January that Greer had virtually lost all support. 

"I find it terribly disturbing to hear, but I know that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will certainly conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation," Crist said. Asked if the investigation could tarnish leading Republicans, Crist, who's trailing in polls as a U.S. Senate candidate, said: "I certainly hope that it does not. The acts of individuals are the acts of individuals, and that is for the people to decide."

Crist said he "had heard rumors" that Greer owned a stake in a consulting company, Victory Strategies, that was paid with party funds.

FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey reports to Crist and the Cabinet, and Crist is constantly accompanied by one or more FDLE agents, but the governor said he did not receive a heads-up of the FDLE probe of Greer. "I heard about it about an hour ago," Crist said at about 1:30 p.m. EDT on Wednesday.  

-- Steve Bousquet