Saturday, April 03, 2010

GOP Going Down In Florida?

Lord, I surely do hope so! The Republicans have had most of the control of the state for at least a decade, and they have wasted no time in screwing the state of Florida up.

Florida Republican Party Imploding Fast!
by davidkc Sat Apr 03, 2010
Let me get you non-Floridians up to speed: the Republican Party in Florida is imploding - Fast. Every day this week has revealed another layer of a growing scandal of corruption, greed and unlawful activity that has burst out into the open sunshine, bringing the possibility of a federal investigation and tainting just about every single Republican leader and top political candidate in the state - including the top candidates for open Senate and Governor spots. Jump down for the details and get out the popcorn.
The Florida GOP scandal revolves around Jim Greer, who was handpicked by Gov. Charlie Crist three years ago to lead the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF). Greer resigned his post in February amid a growing chorus of criticism by the state's Republicans for his lavish spending of party funds (where have I heard that before?) and for the feeling among the party's wingnut base that he was trying to snuff out Marco Rubio's Senate bid.
It was all downhill from there for the Florida GOPers. When RPOF auditors conducted their annual audit in March, they discovered that Greer had been skimming off RPOF donations through a stealth company. When Greer was ousted in February, another reason for his fall was that Republican leaders had discovered that he had made secret contract with party executive director Delmar Johnson, his loyal aide, to pay Johnson a 10 percent commission on all major donations to the RPOF. The skimmed funds were funneled to a company called Victory Strategies that was believed to be owned by Johnson. But last month RPOF auditors discovered that Johnson was not the sole owner of the shell company: auditors conducted their annual review and discovered that (Greer) owned 60 percent of the company — Victory Strategies LLC — and Johnson owned 40 percent. The audit revealed that the company received $133,005 in fundraising commissions and another $66,250 for consulting services in 2009.
That revelation led the current party chairman, John Thrasher, to refer the matter to Attorney General (and current candidate for governor) Bill McCollum, who has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to investigate.
But wait, it gets better! On Wednesday, as RPOF officials had been piling on Greer for weeks, the St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald dropped another bombshell: RPOF officials had offered Greer a questionable secret severance package that appeared to absolve him of any financial wrongdoing and pay him $124,000 to remain as a consultant for a year.
The previously undisclosed severance documents, obtained Wednesday by the Times/Herald, were signed by top party officials, including current party chairman John Thrasher and leading lawmakers who helped oust Greer amid intense concerns he used the party coffers as a personal slush fund.
"All RPOF expenditures made during Chairman Greer's term as RPOF Chairman were proper, lawful, appropriate," the Jan. 4 severance document states. It also specifically clears Greer of any questionable purchases put on the party's credit card.
Jason Gonzalez, the party's lawyer, said Greer never signed the agreement, so it is invalid. Internal party documents show party officials revoked the severance offer Feb. 17. Greer's attorney, Damon Chase, argues the agreement is binding, and the documents obtained by the Times/Herald include Greer's signature.
Greer has also accused associates of incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos and Speaker-designate Dean Cannon of offering to pay him $200,000 of "hush money" to stay quiet about the severance agreement, and yesterday he sued the Republican Party of Florida, alleging that the party violated the terms of the secret severance agreement. (!)
Greer's suit seeks unspecified financial damages for breach of agreement and names as defendants the party and current chairman John Thrasher, a state senator from St. Augustine.
But the stain from Greer's criminal probe, and the revelation by the Times/Herald that party leaders signed the golden parachute agreement to oust him, seeps deep into the party's ranks.
"Wait until the IRS gets in it," said Allen Cox, the party's vice chairman under Greer. "Who knew what, and who agreed to it? There's a smoking gun here."
There are many more allegations flying around too, including revelations of lavish spending on RPOF credit cards by Dean Cannon and Marco Rubio. And yesterday, Charlie Crist and Florida's Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (who will likely be battling with AG McCollum in the governor's race) called to bring in the feds. The move by Crist, who had steadfastly stood by Greer, marks his clear decision to throw his pal under the bus.
The prospect of a federal investigation will intensify the scrutiny of the state GOP, which is reeling from the discovery this week that Greer siphoned party donations to a shell company he owned, and the disclosure that top officials planned to pay him a $125,000 golden parachute if he resigned.
At the same time, new records obtained by the Times/Herald expose how another top GOP lawmaker — incoming Speaker Dean Cannon — used a party credit card to charge $200,000 in a 2 1/2-year period ending in early 2009. The charges include more than $3,000 in personal expenses, some of which he didn't reimburse until just weeks ago as controversy swirled around the use of party credit cards.
For Crist, his statements represent a reversal from his ardent support of Greer, who he handpicked for the chairmanship and supported to the end, despite demands dating to December for Greer's dismissal and a thorough investigation.
Crist said he took "responsibility" for putting Greer at the helm, and that he became disillusioned after the recent revelations.
The calls for the federal investigation mean this GOP scandal is not going away anytime soon, which can be nothing but good news for Alex Sink and Kendrick Meek.
J. Larry Hart, a former state and federal prosecutor not connected to the case, said the Republican Party situation suggests the possibility of a number of violations, regardless of the circumstances.
"Even thieves can be victims of theft," he said.
With the impending entry of federal authorities, the situation is likely to get worse for Greer and other Republicans, said Charles Rose, who teaches at Stetson University College of Law.
"Once the federal government gets involved, they have infinite resources," said Rose, a former prosecutor and defense attorney. "You can't win."
It couldn't happen to a slimier bunch of a-holes!!

This is just part of the problems in which the Republican Party finds itself in. Finally, many of the residents of the state are noticing that the GOP here have done nothing but waste precious money for stupid shit while giving those bigger GOP donors tax breaks and other assorted goodies!
Have you heard about the tax break for yacht buyers?
Offensive tax break
I am shocked about the idea of giving a tax break to yacht buyers in this economy. How do you think it feels to read about this tax break when people are losing their homes, losing their jobs and trying to put food on the table?
We will see who actually voted for this break and remember them at election time. It's enough to read about all the terrible things happening to families and then see this nonsense. All I can say is that it must be nice to be able to own a yacht in these chaotic times. Christine Robinson, Largo

Republicans in general..
A questionable agenda
One party in Tallahassee is for $80 million in tax breaks for businesses, for making it tougher to prosecute public officials for taking bribes, for decreased penalties for public officials who fail to disclose financial information, for allowing legislators to vote on bills that result in personal gain for themselves, and for a union-busting plan to end teacher tenure.
This same party is passing resolutions against health care for 30 million more people who don't have it now, against the voters' class-size mandate, for disallowing any attempt to get federal dollars to pay for our children's health insurance, disallowing any attempt to get federal dollars for unemployment relief, disallowing any attempt to make the budget process more accessible to the public, or to increase public access to public records. And that party, dare we speak its name, is the Republican Party?
Question: What would possess someone to cast a vote for this party?
Robert E. McCallion, St. Petersburg

This state is supposed to have a Democrat majority, but the Republicans always manage to win the elections whenever they come around. Maybe the folks here have finally caught on to the flim-flams that the GOP has been pulling on them. I would hope so, but, I don't have much faith in a population such as is down here. The uneducated are easily led by the wolves in sheeps clothing.
The opinions posted here come from: