The Republican Party of Florida certainly knows how to make the best out of a bad situation. At its meeting this Saturday, leaders discussed a forensic audit that had just been completed after a string of scandals in which party leaders, including current GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio, were accused of improperly using tens of thousands of dollars of party money.
The RPOF has not released the audit to the public. The party did, however, claim to reporters Saturday that the review revealed that Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-independent running for Senate against Rubio, ran up “hundreds of dollars” in bad expenses.
The party said it is considering suing Crist and former party leaders, while saying the audit cleared current leaders, like Rubio and the Republican state Senate president.
Crist’s campaign poo-pooed the claims as politically motivated.
“It’s probably best that the party bosses stop playing the same old political games and take a hard look at their own nominee before attacking the one truly independent candidate for U.S. Senate,” said his spokesman in a statement.
The spokesman, Danny Kanner, told TPMmuckraker that Crist denies charges that he used party money improperly.
The party said the audit revealed further wrongdoing by Jim Greer, the former party chair who is awaiting trial on charges that he used a shell company to skim money from the party. Greer is also suing the party for a severance package he says was promised him. The current chair, John Thrasher, also attacked former executive director Delmar Johnson, who avoided similar charges by promising to testify against Greer.
The party claims Crist — who didn’t have a party credit card — ran up big expenses on Greer and Johnson’s cards. Asked if those claims were true, Kanner, Crist’s spokesman, declined to comment.
Kanner also pointed out that Rubio is reportedly under investigation for failing to report income to the IRS.
A spokeswoman for the RPOF did not immediately return a request for comment.