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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

John Thrasher: GOP is cooperating with investigators

Florida GOP Chairman John Thrasher told reporters Wednesday that the party is cooperating with the current investigation that led to Jim Greer's arrest. He said authorities questioned several members of the state's executive committee about Victory Strategies, the political firm controlled by Greer that allegedly siphoned party money, but he didn't name names.

Thrasher also repeated claims that the party didn't know about the Victory Strategies agreement between Greer and Delmar Johnson, the former executive director of the party and part owner in the company who is cooperating with investigators. "I think it clearly was a secret agreement," said Thrasher, who said he didn't know about it until it was reported in the newspapers.

Greer's attorneys have provided drafts of a severance agreement that indicates that party officials knew of it's existence well before the contract was discovered during a routine party audit and presented to authorities on March 15.

Asked whether he is surprised the allegations don't involve the excessive credit card spending, Thrasher said he would be surprised if the IRS isn't looking into it.

But unlike recent party missives, Thrasher didn't use the opportunity to take direct shots at Gov. Charlie Crist, who picked Greer to run the party, but said he holds some responsibility.

"He's the one who put Greer in the position, he helped be reelected to a second term, he traveled with him extensively ... but I don't think you can walk away from the fact this guy was your best buddy in politics that your relied on day in and day out and now say because he was indicted, you didn't have anything to do with it," Thrasher said.

"He made the choice to leave (the party)," Thrasher said of Crist. "I haven't seen a lot of people regretting that he left, including me."

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:40am]

    

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