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Jim Greer's high-flown toils for the GOP

Allen Cox, the state GOP's former vice chairman and one of the first insiders to sound alarm bells about the spending habits of former chairman Jim Greer, finally got a look last week at Greer's party credit card statements.

After reviewing one period — July 28, 2008, to Aug. 8, 2008 — he sent out a note that vividly illustrates the lifestyle of Greer and his top aide, Delmar Johnson. We can't resist excerpting it at length:

July 28th found Greer jetting to San Diego ($900.20), and having dinner at Butler's Beach House ($248.32), staying at Hyatt-San Diego for three nights ($1,275.36). RNC members report that Greer was not in attendance at any of the scheduled meetings while there. But he and his entourage of staff found time to attend a Padres game ($300), and play golf at Torrey Pines ($382.70).

But duty called, so Greer whisked away on July 31, on a separately purchased a ticket ($1,977.40) to Aspen, Colo. for a Crist fundraiser before returning to Los Angeles.

There, Greer enjoyed dinner at the upscale Mr. Chow's restaurant in Beverly Hills ($1,094.38), then subsequently dined at Wolfgang Puck's CUT restaurant ($898.21). He found time to send flowers to somebody ($68.98). And for the four days in Beverly Hills assisting the Crist fundraising, he must have had some pretty nice wheels from Beverly Hills Rent-A-Car. ($1,994.39)

Then Greer was off on a side trip to Las Vegas for two days, where gambling interests were bending the ear of the Crist for Senate campaign, and bending their checkbooks, too, since gambling was a sure-fire hot topic in Florida, what with the Seminoles and all. Must have been a pretty important occasion, since Delmar flew in ($1,816.40) to be with his boss …

From there, Greer was back to Orlando to be ready for the next national call to duty to help Florida's Republican Party.

Greer called Cox's e-mail a distortion of facts by a disloyal vice chairman who opposed Greer's efforts to discipline party officials over racially insensitive behavior and who never raised questions about spending "until it was politically advantageous."

"As chairman, I did travel a great deal promoting the Republican Party, meeting with current or potential donors, Republican leaders and supporting the governor as the titular head of our party," Greer said. "While Mr. Cox has never been a supporter of mine or the governor, I make no apologies for my support or loyalty to Gov. Crist as he raised millions of dollars for the Republican Party and never failed to answer the call to support the Florida or national GOP."

Hear what Rubio and Romney have to say

Check out Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney on Political Connections today on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Rubio, the Republican front-runner for the Senate, called the Iraq war a good idea that made the world a better place, talked about Gov. Charlie Crist's expected independent bid, and said he was glad to have Romney's endorsement, despite Romney's health care initiative in Massachusetts being the model for President Barack Obama's health care plan.

"It's at the state level, which is where experimentation should exist," Rubio said of Romney's health care system, which also mandates health insurance enrollments.

Romney likes Tampa for GOP convention

Romney became a national figure when he led the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, so you might think he'd be partial to Utah hosting the 2012 Republican convention rather than Tampa or Phoenix, the other finalists.

Well, the likely presidential candidate sure sounded to us like he'd prefer to see the convention in Tampa, the biggest battleground region of America's biggest battleground state.

"It would be a terrific location. I have a lot of friends here in Tampa, and I must admit it would be a lot of fun coming back at the Republican convention," Romney said in the Political Connections interview. "Whether I'm in the mix or not is a different matter."

A Jeff Greene race could be interesting

The Washington Post reported last week that billionaire investor Jeff Greene of Palm Beach has been talking to political consultants about possibly running as a Democrat for the Senate. We chased a similar story more than a year ago and Greene, 55, called the notion crazy, but he sure could make things interesting.

Some fun facts: Mike Tyson was best man at Greene's wedding, and Greene lived with former madam Heidi Fleiss for a year.

Winner
of the week

Marco Rubio. Sure, it's ominous news that the IRS is looking at some of his spending of Florida GOP money, but at least the state party has decided not to release any credit card records that predate Jim Greer's tenure as chairman. It's a safe bet that as speaker-designate overseeing Florida House campaigns Rubio charged more than he did as speaker, when his statements totaled more than $100,000.

Loser
of the week

Dean Cannon (in photo), MIKE HARIDOPOLOS, and other advocates for drilling closer to Florida's beaches. That massive rig explosion and oil spill in the gulf last week makes their assurances that everything will be fine less convincing.

Jim Greer's high-flown toils for the GOP 04/24/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 6, 2010 3:56pm]
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