Charlie Crist and Birds of a Feather
Charlie Crist is everyone’s favorite Republican. No, Independent. Wait, is he a Democrat now? It’s hard to keep track, but one thing about Charlie Crist never changes: when he’s not stealing contributions from his former supporters, bashing his former supporters at the DNC, or trying to figure out how to defeat his former supporters and claw his way back into politics, he’s watching his friends and associates go to prison.
The latest of Crist’s cronies to get sent to the big house is Jim Greer, the former head of the Republican Party of Florida. Greer pleaded guilty to four counts of theft and one count of money laundering. He stole more than $125,000 in party funds. How awful and embarrassing was Greer’s reign at the RPOF? Well, the Tampa Bay Times has this little tidbit:
During Crist’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign, Greer helped him raise more than $400,000 in Seminole County alone, after which he was rewarded with his plum position. Greer hung pictures of himself in the hallways of the party’s offices in Tallahassee. He wanted people to call him Chairman. He wanted to drink bourbon only from bottles with personalized labels. He charged to the party trips on chartered jets and nights in five-star hotels and thousand-dollar dinners.
But what about the golf carts full of prostitutes Jim Greer supposedly set up? Or the spending excesses of the Republican Part of Florida at large? The worst of the humiliation for the RPOF was probably somehow kept under wraps. By not going to trial, Greer spared Charlie Crist and other prominent Florida Republicans from potential career-ending scandals.
We will probably never know exactly what happened under Crist’s and Greer’s RPOF. However, we’ve seen enough to know that Charlie Crist should never be trusted with power again. The temper tantrum Crist threw when it became apparent that he would lose to Marco Rubio should be enough. Yet, here we are. Charlie Crist is crushing current Governor Rick Scott in early polling for the 2014 gubernatorial election. Lenny Curry, the new head of the Republican Party of Florida, has wasted no time trying to defeat Crist again. Curry, when asked about Crist on MSNBC said, “That is a man without a party, a man without a base, which makes him a dangerous, crass political opportunist.” They are even using Crist to motivate donors to give to the GOP.
How can we ensure the defeat of Charlie Crist once and for all? Tie him once again to Greer. He must be exposed for the corrupt man that he is. The liberal Daily Beast writes:
Greer and Crist were once as cozy as two little lice on the body politic. Greer was Crist’s handpicked party chairman and the two seemed inseparable, with Greer acting as part wingman and part consigliere.
However, tying Crist to Greer isn’t enough. It doesn’t paint a full enough picture. Jim Greer’s downfall brings the total to four of Crist allies to plead guilty and receive prison time. Scott Rothstein ran a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme, the largest in Florida history. As a friend and associate of the former governor, Rothstein actually “sponsored” Charlie Crist’s 52nd birthday.
Then there’s Alan Mendelsohn who has been called “one of the governor’s closest political allies.” Mendelsohn was busted for running a fraudulent fundraising and lobbying scheme. Finally, there’s Greg Eagle who pleaded guilty to bank, mail, and wire fraud. Eagle opened his home to Crist and his son was a Crist travel aide.
Let’s review: Charlie Crist friend, Jim Greer, pleaded guilty and is now serving eighteen months in prison. Charlie Crist’s friend Scott Rothstein pleaded guilty and is now serving fifty years in prison. Another Crist friend, Alan Mendelsohn, pleaded guilty and is serving four years in prison. Finally, Charlie Crist’s friend Greg Eagle pleaded guilty and faces up to thirty years in prison.
Charlie Crist isn’t guilty by association for these crimes. But all these criminals have being close to Charlie Crist as a common denominator. After all, birds of a feather flock together.