Jim Greer, ex- Florida GOP chair, says party officials discussed black voter suppression

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Jim Greer, the former chair of the Florida Republican Party, has accused the GOP of engaging in voter suppression, in statements given under sworn testimony in a deposition surrounding a lawsuit he filed over an unpaid severance. Greer claims he became uncomfortable with leading the party when an official began to openly discuss voter suppression tactics that would keep blacks from participating in the electoral process.

The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that incident occurred, according to Greer, after he had just completed a December 2009 meeting with party general counsel Jason Gonzalez, political consultant Jim Rimes and Eric Eikenberg, ex-Florida governor Charlie Crist’s chief of staff.

“I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting. It had been one of those days,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. In the deposition Greer denounced some party officials as liars and “whack-a-do, right-wing crazies”

Rimes told the Times he recalls no discussion of suppressing votes at any meeting and Eikenberg did not return the Times’ phone calls.

Problems for Greer began when officials learned about a consulting firm he started, called Victory Strategies LLC, illegally held a $200,000 dollar contract with the party while Greer was chairman, apparently unbeknownst to party officials. According to reports, Greer initially denied ownership of Victory Strategies but later admitted his involvement to party general counsel Jason Gonzalez but threatened to sue anyone who made the accusation.

In the deposition Greer claims he filed a lawsuit against the party and two other party officials in an attempt to collect $130,000 he was promised in a severance agreement.

Back in 2009, Jim Greer made headlines when he accused the president of attempting to indoctrinate schoolchildren with socialist ideas in a speech where the president spoke to school children about the importance of getting a good education and staying in school. The speech was broadcast live on C-SPAN and via webcast in schools. Greer later recanted this comments.

Greer was also a key player in the appointment of Michael Steele as the head of the Republican National Committee. Steele became the first African-American to head the RNC in 2009. Steele held the position for just under two years and resigned amid criticism of poor leadership.

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