‘Anticlimactic’, ‘disatisfying’, and for some, ‘relieving’ are words that could be used to describe the “guilty” plea made by Jim Greer in his court appearance on Monday.
Former executive director of the Florida Republican party Delmar Johnson, who had been granted immunity in exchange for his testimony tweeted “It’s Finally Over! I’m looking forward to finally having the opportunity to fully tell my side of the story and move on with my life!”
But with Charlie Crist’s potential gubenatoral run as a Democrat, and the yet unconfirmed presidential run by Marco Rubio, speculations are that issues involving Greer will continue to surface as the campaign season heats up.
The potential embarrassment Greer’s testimony and trial represented to Republican politicains, rockstars and reprobates alike, was staggering. From as high up as the seemingly unassailable Marco Rubio to as low as the party paraiah Crist, one would be hard pressed not to find the greasy fingerprints of Greer. Moreover, the legacy of Greer has continued to be a problem for the statewide RECs (Republican Executive Committees) as the club membership continue to root out instances of sweetheart deals and preferential positioning.
Greer’s Monday morning guilty plea to money laundering (1 count) and theft (four counts) put temporary brakes on any further exposure of Greer’s past dealings with Crist and other prominent Florida politicians. In a statement to the public, the Republican Party of Florida declared that since Greer’s arrest in 2010, he has attempted to damage the reputation of the party.
Greer’s attorney, Damon Chase contradicted this assertion by saying “Once again, Jim Greer is falling on his sword for a lot of other folks…” implying that Greer was protecting Republican Party interests. In 2012, however both Greer and Crist had made headlines with their pronouncements of alleged GOP voter suppression. While yet unproven, those allegations helped spur Crist into the limelight of a plum Democratic National Convention speaking spot.
According to Florida Republican Party attorney Stephen Dobson, “There was absolutely no concern. In fact, a lot of people were looking forward to clearing a lot of these allegations that had been made up…Today the truth came out.” The silence forced by Greer’s plea though, still leaves the questions of “What else?” and “Who else?” looming in the minds of many political players statewide.
Sentencing for Greer takes place on March 27th, and could result in up to 35 years behind bars, although most estimations will be that he will serve 3 1/2 years. Crist has avoided any direct implication in wrongdoing, and in all likelyhood will continue on to run for the Governor’s seat, this time as a Democrat.
The Republican Party of Florida, under the leadership of Chairman Lenny Curry, has made significant efforts to eradicate the shadiness, deal cutting, and favoritism that marked Greer’s tenure. Great strides have been taken to reach out to a broader base of Republicans, including the Grassroots and Libertarian voters.
While many inside the Republican Party of Florida hope that Greer’s guilty plea closes the book on the old style of political wrangling, and opens a new chapter on a strong straight-shooting Republican platform for Florida, only time will answer the questions left by Greer’s actions.