August 16th, 2010
05:45 PM ET
4 years ago

Crist takes heat for refunding Greer contributions

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is refunding money donated by the state's indicted former party chairman.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is refunding money donated by the state's indicted former party chairman.

(CNN) – Republicans in Florida are pouncing on Gov. Charlie Crist's decision to refund campaign contributions from indicted former state GOP Chairman Jim Greer, a longtime Crist ally charged with stealing money from party coffers.

In a letter to the governor dated August 5, Greer asked that $9,600 worth of contributions to Crist's Senate campaign be returned so he could help pay for his legal fees. The Crist campaign on Monday agreed to do so after the letter was reported by the St. Petersburg Times.

But Crist's decision comes after an earlier refusal to return money to Republican donors who sought refunds when the governor bolted the GOP and embarked on an independent run.

Crist's Republican critics are crying foul over the move, but they're also pleased to once again have Crist sharing the spotlight with the scandal-tainted Greer.

The campaign of Crist's GOP opponent Marco Rubio immediately took a shot at the governor's decision.

"It should surprise no one that despite refusing to return a single penny to Floridians who gave to him in good faith, Charlie Crist wasted no time in refunding money to his indicted political confidante," said Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos.

Ronnie Whitaker, executive director of the Florida GOP, called the refund "astonishing given Governor Crist's blatant and often contemptuous refusal to refund the contributions of thousands of hardworking Floridians who contributed to his campaign in good faith."

And the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which once backed Crist but eventually threw its support to Rubio, echoed the criticism.

"It certainly says a lot about Charlie Crist's character and complete lack of principle that he would refuse to return donations from Floridians who donated to his candidacy when he was a Republican, but he's more than willing to make an exception and fork over the contributions in order to help his indicted crony and hand-picked chairman Jim Greer," NRSC spokeswoman Amber Marchand told CNN.

Crist campaign spokesman Danny Kanner did not respond to the criticism, saying only: "We have received the letter and are in the process of refunding the contributions."


Filed under: 2010 • Charlie Crist • Florida • Jim Greer • Marco Rubio
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Why should he return the money to them? Presumably, they are intelligent, well-informed, educated and objective voters who donated money to the candidate of their choice based on HIM, his views, his beliefs, his policy positions, his ideas, etc., right? Oh wait...we're talking about Republican voters...scratch that....

    Party Before Country!

    August 16, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. kym

    marco you r still going to lose. Why not give the poor crook his money back? He needs the money for his legal defense. Thats the difference between Charlie Christ and the other republicans, Christ actrually has a heart.. I know that some of you sociopathic republicans find it hard to understand.

    August 16, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  3. Dianne

    It looks like Crist is going to win. He has a good atitude with all the policies. He is a down the middle type person. He has down a good job for FL.

    August 16, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. Lori in St Pete

    He's the least evil of the other senate candidates. Therefor, he gets my vote. Rubio is a mouth breathing imbecile who makes Alvin Greene look like a Rhodes scholar!

    August 16, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  5. Voice of Reason

    So let me get this straight... Guy running for office refuses the contributions from a known crook – and that's a BAD thing? Crist is just getting rid of tainted money. If Berniw Madoff had donated, we'd hope that he returned that money with a 'no thank you' as well.

    If he had kept the money, people would say that he was peddling influence to Greer.

    The rest of the world knows you cant have your cake and eat it too – but the Florida GOP says you cant do either one...

    August 16, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  6. Rickster

    Crist is the south end of a northbound horse.

    August 16, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. Peter s

    Is that worse than what Rick Scott did?

    August 16, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. Dave

    Gov Crist has more integrity than the entire Republican party of Florida. We will be much better if he is elected to the Senate.

    August 16, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  9. YJ

    Rubio and his crownies does not get it yet, it seems; despite all this opportune snipping Marco, it is over!!! Charlie Christ will be the next Independent US Senator from Florida! And you will watch the swearing-in ceremony at his inauguration from a tv screen in Calle Ocho. Charlie Christ is closer and more attentive to the needs of the majority of ordinary Floridians You, candidate Marco Rubio, you are just a phony, changed-as-needed, sold to the cause of the right wing.
    We, working class people of Florida does not need an ideologue, we need a leader who understands our day-to-day problems, is sensitive to the needs of the small, poor people, and wants to work to represent all arrays of the citizenry. This is Charlie Crist, that is what he stands for, that is why the majority believes in him, and that is why you, Rubio, are trailing so lamentably in the poll.

    August 16, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. GOP = Scorched Earth Politics

    Poor Florida. Can't catch a break. Jim Greer is a real piece of work. Marco Rubio is a tool. Either he returns the money or not...Marco would still complain either way.

    August 16, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  11. Romney in 2012

    Crist should just let Rubio win instead of splitting the conservative vote. All we need now is another Democrat in Congress. Four years of democratic control (the last two with a super-majority) show that they can't handle the power.

    Democratic policies are 65% responsible for the economic downturn that started in 2008. Sure Bush could have vetoed their garbage, but he didn't and now we're paying for it.

    August 16, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. tom70001

    Crist ordered a fed investigation of the rpof long before Thrasher called in the state. Much to the dismay of many republicans...It appears Crist didn"t trust McCollum and the boys to do the job!.Rubio is under a federal investigation now, and has yet to file his 09' taxes..what's he hidin!

    August 16, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  13. carlos

    corruption tainted rubio and all the repulsive CONServatives will be trashed in november, early voting is in Florida and peoples commenting are not favorable to marquito

    August 16, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  14. PAUL

    Marco Rubio shouldnt talk. He is no better than that late Cuban Facist FueguencoBattista which I am sure his parents idolized.

    August 16, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Democrats for Crist.

    August 16, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  16. Brett P.

    And yet, if he refused to return the money, Rubio would claim that he is as dirty as him because of the refusal. Rubio will say whatever he needs to stay in the limelight and talk bad about anyone who is not him.

    An opportunist in every sense of the word.

    August 16, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |