Culture of Corruption, Florida edition

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION, FLORIDA EDITION…. Florida Republicans have been burdened with a series of corruption scandals in recent years, and today’s revelations won’t help the state party’s bruised image.

Jim Greer, tapped by Gov. Charlie Crist to run the Republican Party of Florida, was charged today with six felony counts, in what appears to be a massive fraud/money laundering operation.

The indictment … lays out an expansive financial effort. According to prosecutors, Mr. Greer set up a consulting firm called Victory Strategies, then pushed through a contract with the firm that assigned it 10 percent of all major donations to the Republican Party. The firm received $199,254.50 in 2009, according to prosecutors, 60 percent of which went to Mr. Greer, with the rest paid to his partner, Delmar Johnson, who is cooperating with authorities.

Victory Strategies, prosecutors said, also received about $60,000 from vendors who were directed to pay the firm by Mr. Greer, often with emails that did not say what the money was for, only that it should be paid “per the chairman.”

And despite these windfalls — in a hint at Mr. Greer’s motives — bank records show that Mr. Greer was short of cash. He had overdrawn at least one of his bank accounts by an average of more than $10,000 a month through most of last year, according to the affidavit of arrest.

Asked where the money went, William Shepherd, the state prosecutor said Mr. Greer “just used the money for his own personal lifestyle.”

This certainly doesn’t help Charlie Crist, who put Greer in a position of authority, but it may also hurt Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio, who used credit cards from Greer’s state party for a variety of personal expenses.

Nevertheless, Greer seemed to work out quite a scheme for himself. It’s not exactly news that will help inspire confidence in the state GOP. It doesn’t help RNC Chairman Michael Steele, either — Steele was anxious to have the accused felon lead the national party’s influential Rules Committee.

Oops.