Former Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer has been arrested on charges of ripping off the party.
Greer, 47, was arrested Wednesday morning at his Oviedo home and charged on six felony counts of theft, money laundering and orchestrating a scheme to defraud. He faces a maximum 30 years in prison for money laundering and fraud charges, and a maximum five-year sentence for theft charges.
Greer’s attorney, Damon Chase, said his client is an innocent victim of a ”political assassination.”
The arrest capped Greer’s controversial three-year reign as chairman. Throughout, he endured criticism from nearly every quarter — save from the man who chose him for the job,Gov. Charlie Crist.
”Sometimes, you’re disappointed by people,” Crist said Wednesday, calling the incident ”disappointing and surprising.”
Asked if he bore any blame for Greer’s troubles, Crist said, ”I do not feel complicit.”
This isn’t the first time Mr. Greer has made headlines. Last September he got on national TV protesting President Obama’s plan to address schoolchildren via video about the benefits of a good education; Mr. Greer called it “indoctrination.” This may have been his attempt to prove his nutsery cred to the teabaggers in Florida who were lining up for Marco Rubio, or it could have been just typical right-wing knee-jerk noise. However, his alliance with then-Republican Gov. Crist probably didn’t help his cause with the party that was increasingly disenchanted with him and Mr. Crist — the embezzlement was just one of the reasons they forced him to resign in February.
As with any big operation with a lot of money floating around — and your own bank account in the red — the only surprise is that it doesn’t happen more often. (And the Rubio people are still trying to explain how their candidate ran up all those personal charges on the party’s American Express card without having to retain the services of a lawyer and an auditor.)
Oh, and a note to Gov. Crist: It’s just tacky to express disappointment for your friend’s problem and then immediately deny any connection to it. It’s not always about you, Governor.