Sunday, June 6, 2010

Crist Claims Ignorance

And so it begins.  The fallout of the Jim Greer arrest is about to rain down all over Charlie Crist.

Via The St. Petersburg Times:

Gov. Charlie Crist personally signed off on his former Republican Party chairman's confidential fundraising role with the state party, according to Jim Greer's attorney, whose allegation contradicts the governor's statement that he "didn't know anything" about the deal now part of a criminal investigation.

State investigators say Greer and the party's former executive director, Delmar W. Johnson III, secretly set up a shell company called Victory Strategies to divert party money and enrich themselves. Greer was charged Wednesday with fraud and money laundering.

Crist says the entire Greer incident is "surprising" and "unfortunate"  He says he didn't even know about the shell corporation Greer was using to funnel cash into his own pocket "until after Greer resigned in January."  Crist's explanation for not knowing the specifics?  He's too busy running the state.  He can't be bothered with the little stuff.

When did ignorance become an excuse?

Actually, ever the opportunist, Crist attempts to take credit for Greer's current legal troubles by explaining "I'm the one actually who empanelled the state-wide grand jury that came down with this decision."

Greer's attorney contradicts Crist's ignorance excuse, explaining that Crist signed off on the diversion of GOP funds:

Chase said Greer and Crist discussed the fundraising deal at least three times last year: at the golf tournament in February, over the summer; and in the fall at the Fisher Island home of the governor's wife.

"The governor knew about Victory Strategies from the very beginning," Chase said. "They all worked on it together. … They saw it as a way to save money."
Jennifer Rubin points out that Crist is certain to find out that he's the wrong candidate at the wrong time:

In an election year in which inside deals are under scrutiny (with the Sestak and Romanoff scandals swirling) and establishment candidates face a hostile electorate, Crist may find there is little patience for this sort of thing. And it’s a good reminder that the GOP inside the beltway political gurus (who backed Crist) often get it very, very wrong.
Some of us suggested a long time ago that Crist was the wrong guy.  It was the NRSC who thought he was the right guy.  They were wrong.

And so it begins.

(H/T:  Memeorandum)

(Cross posted at And So it Goes in Shreveport)