Greer attorney says Crist approved secret role

Former Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer's attorney said Saturday that Gov. Charlie Crist signed off on a deal that allowed him to enrich himself off party donations.

Crist, a former Republican who left the party to launch an independent Senate bid, has said that he had no knowledge of Greer's clandestine fundraising role. Greer was arrested this week on charges of defrauding his party through funneling donations to himself through a shell company.

Greer was Crist's hand-picked chairman of the Republican Party of Florida when he was governor -- but he resigned in January amid accusations of wrongdoing and internal conflict within the party.

The Miami Herald reported Saturday:

Damon Chase, said Saturday that the deal giving them a 10 percent cut of party donations was legal. What's more, Chase said Crist's former right-hand man, now U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, first proposed the idea that they earn a fundraising commission to save the party money and replace the $30,000-a-month contract with fundraiser Meredith O'Rourke.

"You guys work hard. You deserve it,'' Chase said Greer was told by the governor as they played pool in February 2009 at a Palm Beach golf tournament.

Crist's opponents in the Senate race have sought to bring the allegations to the forefront to hurt his chances of winning.

Republican Marco Rubio's campaign blasted out the story Thursday, but investigators have also opened a preliminary probe into Rubio's role into improper usage of party credit cards.

Cross-posted to the Ballot Box