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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

GOP infighting: charges of fraud, 'party purge'



An Orange County Republican Executive Committee member named Kevin Recine has filed two election-related fraud complaints against REC chairman Lew Oliver. Oliver, in turn, calls the charges "completely baseless" and says they're linked to activist Doug Guetzloe, whom Oliver wants to kick out of the local party.


The Recine complaint alleges: 1) Oliver hasn't properly accounted for about $13,000 in reimbursements, 2) that Oliver secretly set up a federal party fundraising account without the REC's knowledge, and 3) That the Hillsborough and Orange county republican committees improperly commingled federal and state campaign money in the 2008 presidential election.

"This is fraud," Recine said.

Oliver said he has all the receipts, meetings minutes, and lawyer/accountant advice to prove the charges are wrong. He called Recine a "sycophant" of Guetzloe.

The common thread/name tied to all this hand-wringing and counter-charging is Republican Party of Florida chief Jim Greer. With little notice, the Greer-led RPOF changed its loyalty-oath rules that disqualified numerous Republicans seeking a seat on local executive committees last fall. Lots of folks from Miami-Dade to Orange protested it was a move to strengthen Greer's hand. Some say it was designed to check the Ron Paulites. Then, Greer started favoring Charlie Crist's U.S. Senate campaign over that of former House Speaker Marco Rubio in the opening days of the 2010 Republican primaries. More complaining.

Recine said Greer is behind a "party purge" and said rules were bent to keep Oliver (a Greer backer) in office. Oliver said the complaint filed against him is simply "retaliation" from Guetzloe. A party grievance committee will meet tomorrow in the Orlando-area, where Guetzloe could get the ax. Also facing party sanction: Brevard County REC Chair Jason Steele, who led the charge in his county to tell RPOF to butt out of primaries.

Download Complaint

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 3:53pm]


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