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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The fallout from the Jim Greer investigation



Amid the fallout that Jim Greer, Charlie Crist's handpicked party chairman, is facing a criminal investigation, the speculation is rampant about how this will affect the political dynamic on the campaign trail.

Florida political consultant Rick Wilson said this would void Crist's ability to attack GOP U.S. Senate opponent Marco Rubio as a corrupt big-spender when Greer, his close friend, "used the party like his own ATM."

"Charlie is at the minimum going to be on the witness stand in this affair," said Wilson, who is supporting Rubio.

The Florida Democratic Party renewed it's call for Crist to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the state Republican Party. Chairman Karen Thurman also wants an inquiry to include the party's American Express "slush fund and the Republican politicians like Marco Rubio, Jeff Atwater and Dean Cannon, who lived large on the RPOF's dime."

Much of the talk involves how this will affect the U.S. Senate race where Crist already trails Rubio.

Rubio, who served as House speaker when Greer was chairman, issued a statement saying he was "deeply troubled" by the news but declined to comment further because of the open criminal investigation.

Speaker-designate Cannon, who helped oust Greer, used the audit to heap praise on state Sen. John Thrasher, the chairman he helped elect. "I want to commend Chairman Thrasher for confronting that issue aggressively, and we'll see what that investigation reveals," he said.


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:25am]


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