A Florida Republican official was fired on Thursday for creating a fake Twitter account to discredit a well known critic of state GOP leaders.
This is not the first time such an incident has occurred. Connecticut GOP officials were found to have created fake accounts for Democratic state lawmakers.
Here is more from the Miami Herald:
This week, the party fired Tim Nungesser, who was director of the field operations department, and insisted that no one else knew about it.
The victim, however, says that top party officials were aware of what was going on and did nothing until law enforcement identified the culprit. He urged Gov. Charlie Crist and Attorney General Bill McCollum to investigate and then demand the resignation of the party's executive director and state chairman.
"This is not about me. It's about the Republican Party of the state of Florida cleaning up its act and doing the right thing and getting back on a positive footing so people have confidence in the party again,'' said Jason Steele, chairman of the Brevard County Republican Party.
It was the second time in a week in which the state GOP has faced questions about its online activities and whether it is taking sides in intraparty battles. A top Republican operative and Charlie Crist advisor working out of the state party headquarters last week acknowledged he had helped put together an anonymous website criticizing Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio, but said the party had nothing to do with it.
Steele, a vocal critic of the state party leadership's spending, said that about three months ago someone called him and urged him to tone down his Twitter messages. Checking online, he discovered a Twitter account with his name and photo that since April had been tweeting often vulgar comments about party officials.
The Brevard County Sheriff's Office subpoenaed records from Twitter and from an Internet provider, said Agent Tim Anliker, who expects to wrap up the investigation within the next week.
Anliker declined to identify a suspect, but Steele said the Sheriff's Office tracked the Twitter account to a computer in Nungesser's Palm Bay home. Steele said he spoke to Nungesser and was told that Delmar Johnson, the party's executive director, had seen the account.
Nungesser could not be reached for comments Wednesday. The state party released a statement saying the ``totally unacceptable'' fake Twitter account was done without the knowledge of any other party employee: ``We have taken all appropriate action and the employee has been terminated. This is a continuation of a long-standing political feud between those Brevard County individuals involved [and] is not in any way connected with the Republican Party of Florida.''