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Greer's reimbursement check to GOP falls short, and bounces

Indicted former state Republican chairman Jim Greer sued the state party for allegedly reneging on a promised $123,000 severance package. But it seems he also decided he owed the party some money for questionable expenses.

Accused of illegally siphoning off party funds as chairman, Greer in July wrote a $7,339.21 check to the Florida GOP, apparently to reimburse it for certain expenses. The check bounced.

A forensic audit of the party during Greer's tenure is nearly complete, and the party expects it will show Greer owes a lot more than $7,300.

GOP could use Greer's money right now

The latest report for the Republican Party of Florida's federal campaign finance account — the rich source of funds for get-out-the-vote efforts, voter registration drives and even staff salaries — shows it has dipped to an unusually low $54,000.

Money raised in the federal account must come from individual, not corporate, contributions. Judging from the push in the past several weeks, Republican leaders have been very busy raising corporate money, but it has apparently gone only to the political committees aimed at boosting Attorney General Bill McCollum's campaign for governor.

For what it's worth, the Democrats appear to be in a better shape, with $1.6 million on hand.

GOP spokeswoman Katie Gordon Betta blamed it on Greer and the need to staff up for the general election. "We're trying to pay down the debt we've inherited and trying to get our victory offices ready to go," she said.

Dole gives $1,000 to Crist campaign

As a 24-year-old University of Miami law school student, Marco Rubio gained attention in Republican circles for his hard work and passion with the Bob Dole presidential campaign. But on Aug. 11, Dole cut a $1,000 check to Gov. Charlie Crist's independent U.S. Senate campaign.

Attorney general hopefuls reel in cash

The knock on Democratic state Sen. Dan Gelber, first when he ran for U.S. Senate and then when he jumped to the attorney general's race, was that the guy couldn't raise money. Sure, the press would lap up his quotes, the chatter went, but Gelber would fall short in critical campaign cash.

Wrong. Now it can be told that Gelber actually raised more money than any other attorney general candidate, both in hard money contributions and in-kind from the state party (soft money). Dave Aronberg was close behind, but the Buzz was that Aronberg was a money-raising dynamo. Here's the tally:

Gelber: $1.676 million (5,150 donors).

Aronberg: $1.662 million (4,660 donors).

Jeff Kottkamp: $1.115 million (2,539 donors).

Pam Bondi: $999K (2,190 donors).

Holly Benson: $914K (2,043 donors).

Coming to a phone near you: Palin, Gingrich

Wonder who has more political juice among Republican primary voters, Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich?

Recorded messages from Gingrich were hitting GOP households Monday: "I have worked with Holly Benson and she is a proven conservative you can trust. The next attorney general will take the lead in challenging ObamaCare, and in my opinion there is no candidate more qualified than Holly Benson."

Palin left her own advice on answering machines across Florida: "Vote for my friend Pam Bondi for attorney general. Bondi is a real prosecutor and a true conservative. She can lead the fight against ObamaCare."

Rubio's wife is seen, but not heard

With only token opposition from challengers William "Billy" Kogut and William Escoffery III in today's primary, Rubio flew into St. Petersburg on Monday to fire up GOP activists just before the general election gets under way. The stump speech is barely any different than it was when he started his quixotic primary challenge against the then-invincible Crist, but there was a big change Monday: Jeanette Rubio, his normally low-profile wife, was at his side.

"This is what I do; this is what I've been doing the last 18 months," he quipped to the mother of four whom he credited with "holding it all together" while he was crisscrossing the state. Mrs. Rubio did not speak.

Times/Herald staff writer Mary Ellen Klas contributed to today's Buzz.

Greer's reimbursement check to GOP falls short, and bounces 08/23/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 23, 2010 9:04pm]
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