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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Small Republican group criticizes Greer



Just days before Republican Party of Florida members decide whether to keep or replace chairman Jim Greer, four Republicans announced they're forming a caucus to hold his feet to the fire.

The Florida Republican Reform Caucus was formed by party members Martin Stockdale of Ft. Lauderdale, Eric von Tausch of Miami, Joe Aloisio of Trinity, and John Bertran of Melbourne, who wanted "to join forces calling for an investigation into RPOF."

Read the press release on the jump.

Florida Republican Reform Caucus: "Who's the big spender?"

MIAMI - Four irate Republican activists joined forces today to form the Florida Republican Reform Caucus (FRRC), pledging to rally grass-roots GOP troops in a call for a forensic audit of Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) expenditures. At issue: a $1.7-million Party slush fund, $700,000 in charter aircraft use, $22,000 for limousines, and more profligate spending.

"RPOF Chairman Jim Greer is virtually certain to be re-elected to his Party post," said FRRC cofounder Martin Stockdale of Ft. Lauderdale. "But this certainty is no reason to ignore decadent expenditures. Republican Party members have a right to know where our money went."

Stockdale said the Florida Republican Reform Caucasus will ask rank-and-file Republicans to join on-line to work for greater transparency and accountability by Party leaders. The organization will post its Web site soon.

Recently, it was revealed that the RPOF provides an America Express Card to senior party officials, and $1.8-million was spent on these cards in 2008. This and other distressing financial news urged Party members Stockdale, Eric von Tausch of Miami, Joe Aloisio of Trinity, and John Bertran of Melbourne to join forces calling for an investigation into RPOF officials' luxurious spending.

"Today, the State Party is confounding a closer look at the credit card spending - by cardholder - to determine how Party funds have been spent," said Bertran, an FRRC co-founder. "Only a true forensic audit will show who spent what, and for what reason."

"What are these campaign expenditures - Five-Star resorts? Luxury suites? Spa days? Premium cigars? Private jets? Thousands of dollars in room service charges?" asked Aloisio, an FRRC cofounder. "Who's the big spender? We need to know what our leaders are doing with Party money, if there are tax implications, and whether Chairman Greer has been subsidizing his lavish lifestyle with Party funds."

"The RPOF racked up $46,000 worth of expenses on hotel suites, five-star restaurants, endless bar tabs, expensive tours, and shopping at a luxury department store, all in the United Kingdom alone," FRRC co-founder von Tausch said. "Chairman Greer blames Speaker Ray Sansom for the spending, Sansom blames Greer - and the rank-and-file wants the truth."

The RPOF had one of the most successful fundraising years in history, raising $23-million in 2008. Still, the Party allowed Sen. Barack Obama a remarkable Florida victory. Instead of paying for critical Spanish language radio or cable advertising, Chairman Greer and others spent millions on extravagance, lost a critical Red State - and failed John McCain miserably.


[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 3:12pm]


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