Washington (CNN) – The Republican National Committee broke its silence Thursday regarding the arrest of ex-Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer, one of Chairman Michael Steele's top supporters during his 2009 bid to lead the committee.
Greer was arrested Wednesday and charged with six felony counts stemming from a grand jury investigation into his activities while serving as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. Prosecutors allege that Greer set up a shell company in February 2009 to funnel money from the state party into his personal bank account.
RNC spokesman Doug Heye called the accusations "unacceptable" and said donors "have a right to know that that their hard earned money is being used, as they expect, to elect candidates who stand for their principles."
"We have complete confidence in the judicial system of the State of Florida and look forward to justice being served," Heye said in a statement to CNN. "Sweetheart deals and personal enrichment are every bit as unacceptable as the offering of political appointments to keep Democratic candidates out of primaries."
After endorsing Steele three weeks before last January's hotly-contested election, Greer quickly became one of Steele's most prominent backers within the RNC. Steele later backed Greer to chair the powerful RNC Rules Committee, a position Greer gave up when he resigned as Florida GOP chairman earlier this year under pressure from party activists upset his with handling of party funds.
Greer, who once considered his own bid to head the RNC, was also one of Steele's top financial backers during the six-way race for the chairmanship.
On Jan. 28, 2009, two days before Steele's victory, Greer directed $15,000 from his campaign 527 account to the "Steele for Chairman" committee, according to publicly available filings with the IRS. It was one of the largest direct contributions to Steele's bid by any donor.
Two weeks later, according to the affidavit filed Wednesday by Florida prosecutors, Greer tapped that same 527 account, the "Jim Greer for Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida Committee," for seed money to help open the shell company that ultimately landed him in the hands of Florida law enforcement officials.
Heye said the "Steele for Chairman" account is now closed.
UPDATE: Steele addressed the Greer scandal earlier this year, after Greer stepped down amid claims that he had mis-managed party funds, but before he was arrested.
"I don't like what I’m hearing" about how Greer was spending money at the RPOF, Steele told the Orlando Sentinel in February.
Steele also told the paper that he had "a very honest conversation" with Greer before he resigned from the party in January. He said he told Greer, “you have to make the people who put you in the job comfortable with what you’re doing.”