How bad is it? It's so bad that Governor Charlie Crist (R-Florida) has invited the federal government to come in and investigate, essentially confessing that Florida is unable to police itself:
Gov. Charlie Crist asked federal authorities Friday to investigate the Republican Party of Florida amid growing concerns about secret deals and misspent money.To me, the key to this story is the involvement of Republican fundraising. The Republican Party has been run for some time as a for-profit enterprise. That attitude has been reflected in the poor behavior of Republican officials, blowing donor money and many times outright stealing donated funds. If this story gains traction, it could hobble Republican fundraising efforts going forward.
"It's a mess," he said. "This thing stinks."
In an interview, Crist said the U.S. Attorney's Office needs to take over the criminal investigation of former Chairman Jim Greer and examine the use of party credit cards by top GOP lawmakers.
"A federal comprehensive investigation is . . . fully appropriate," the Republican governor said. "Particularly because of the significant IRS implications throughout this thing."
Crist's call for federal intervention followed a similar request from Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in a letter to the state attorney general Friday.
The prospect of a federal investigation will intensify the scrutiny of the state GOP, which is reeling from the discovery this week that Greer siphoned party donations to a shell company he owned, and the disclosure that top officials planned to pay him a $125,000 golden parachute if he resigned.