The controversial former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Jim Greer, is taking to the airwaves, claiminig the criminal fraud case against him is the result of a political vendetta. The WTSP piece points out that, among others, former Sen. George LeMieux is loosely tied to the case along with his former boss, Charlie Crist.
And that's bad news for LeMieux as he runs in a crowded Republican primary where he's trying to shake the legacy of calling himself and acting like a "Charlie Crist Republican." Judging by the first night's installment, the TV piece won't have much new in it. But it raises the issue of Greer and it specifically highlighted LeMieux, thereby making the old story news again. And campaigns are all about examining a candidate's past to help determine his future.
LeMieux has tried to distance himself from his old boss (and Greer) by saying that Crist drifted left after he left the governor's office as chief of staff. But Greer told us a while back that he inked a little-known $10,000 monthly Republican Party of Florida contract — ultimately worth $150,000 — to pay LeMieux to continue giving Crist advice through a company called MTC Strategies.
Greer owes a measure of his chairmanship to LeMieux, who was Crist's top campaign and gubernatorial advisor early on and therefore rounded up the votes on the Republican Executive Committee of RPOF to help make Greer chairman.
At the center of Greer's defense in his criminal case is a severance agreement he signed with higher-up Republicans (not Crist or LeMieux). They agreed to pay him about $124,000 and to praise him. Perhaps out of the obligation or out of his genuine fondness for Greer, LeMieux issued through RPOF this Jan. 5 2010 press release:
Statement by Senator George LeMieux Regarding the Leadership of the Republican Party of Florida
Tallahassee - United States Senator George LeMieux released the following statement regarding the leadership of the Republican Party of Florida.
"I would like to commend Chairman Jim Greer for the steadfast dedication and commitment that he has shown while serving as the Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida over the last three years. Under his leadership, Republicans saw victories at both the local and state levels during the 2008 Election Cycle. Now, more than ever, it is essential that Republicans unite to ensure we have that same success this coming November.
"Chairman Greer has sacrificed many precious hours with his wife and their four children for the betterment of the Republican Party and for that, I am truly grateful. As Jim and Lisa transition back to a more private life, I wish them the best of luck and great success in all of their future endeavors. I know the Chairman will continue to work hard to support common sense Republican leaders at all levels of government.
"I fully support Senator John Thrasher if he should choose to seek the Chairmanship of the Republican Party of Florida. He is proven leader with strong conservative roots, and I have no doubt he will lead our party with great distinction."