The Republican Party of Florida issued what it said was an independent audit of its books -- and it just so happens that the "key findings" of the audit in an RPOF press release conveniently take its former leader and current Enemy No. 1, Gov. Charlie Crist, to task for being a spendthrift.
Also, RPOF decided to limit the audit to the 2007-2009 period, when Crist led the party. Nothing before or after.
That means an examination of the likely large charges by former House Speaker and current Crist opponent Marco Rubio is absent. So all that money incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon dropped at steak houses near his house? And the secret severance agreement with Jim Greer he and other leaders signed saying Greer's expenses were OK? Not much. Future House Speaker Chris Dorworth's appearance in Vegas with Greer? Barely a mention. And indicted former House Speaker Ray Samson's trip to jolly ole London? It seems absent as well (from the press release but not the audit). And speaking of Disney, what about Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp's trips to the Magic Kingdom and his whitewater (white-washing?) rafting? It's not in the audit at all.
But that's not to say Crist and Greer don't deserve the scrutiny. When both were at RPOF and the news media was questioning expenditures, the party's mouthpieces were more than happy to extol Greer and Crist and question the media's reporting. RPOF also fired whistleblower Susan Wright. Meantime, Crist and Greer were ringing up big charges. Now that Crist and Greer are gone, RPOF can't say enough about how bad they were.
Assuming the numbers are true, which they probably are, Crist has a major public-relations and campaign headache on his hands as he runs for U.S. Senate.
From an RPOF press release:
- A personal vacation to Disney World in June 2009 taken jointly by the Crist and Greer families that cost the RPOF $13,435.59.
- A trip taken by Greer and former RPOF Executive Director Delmar Johnson in October 2009, coinciding with a Crist for Senate fundraiser in Las Vegas, that cost the RPOF $7,059.92. Alston & Bird, LLP determined that it “does not appear that Greer or Johnson was conducting RPOF business while in Las Vegas more than on a nominal basis.”
- Three personal vacations to Fisher Island by Greer, and in one instance including Crist, costing the RPOF $10,992.17.
- $1,589.56 charged to the RPOF by Greer or Crist’s spouse before Greer or Crist’s arrival in New York. Alston & Bird, LLP determined that “On September 26, 2009, Greer and Crist arrived in New York for a fundraising event for Crist’s senatorial campaign. However, their spouses had arrived in New York on September 24, 2009, and their hotel and related expenses were charged to the RPOF.”
- $5,616.79 worth of personal charges in May 2009 for Greer’s son’s baptism.