Report: Crist campaign also subject to credit card probe

Federal investigators are probing the Senate campaign of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) to see if it improperly co-mingled state GOP funds with personal expenditures, according to a report Thursday.

The FBI, IRS and U.S. Attorney's office have opened a preliminary investigation into the Republican Party of Florida to see if credit cards it issued to staffers and officials were used for improper personal expenses. 

Crist's primary opponent, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) was named in the probe but Crist personally was not. Former party chairman Jim Greer, who Crist hand-picked to run the organization,was cited.

The St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald reported that federal investigators have asked if Crist's campaign is connected to the allegations:

Gov. Charlie Crist never had a credit card, but he's not free from the controversy. FBI agents have asked about the Crist campaign, said Republican fundraiser Al Hoffman.

"They had Jim Greer's travel expense records and wanted me to react to some of the issues surrounding that debacle,'' said Hoffman, a former ambassador who helped lead the ouster of Greer and was interviewed by agents last month.

"Definitely they asked about the relationship between the Crist campaign and the party, relative to the co-mingling of funds...I believe they're after any federal election law violations, tax avoidance issues, and criminal fraud.''

It was no secret Greer was aggressively promoting Crist's campaign, but it could be a violation of federal election law subject to civil penalties for the state party to pay for a federal candidate's expenses.

Crist's involvement could have implications in his primary against Rubio, whom he trails by large margins in the polls.

The governor's campaign have attacked Rubio's role in the scandal, saying that he showed a lack of responsibility by spending $100,000 over two years as House speaker with the state GOP's credit card.

But now Crist's campaign could fall between the cross-hairs, meaning the political fallout could affect both Rubio and him.

Rubio has denied doing anything illegal with the state party's credit card. 

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room