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Monday, April 21st, 2014

Florida Explosion: Former GOP Head Claims Party Discussed Ways to Keep Blacks from Voting

The former head of the Florida Republican Party Jim Greer revealed in court depositions that the party leaders met in 2009 to talk about voter suppression and how the party could keep more blacks from voting, according to a story in the Tampa Bay Times.

While dozens of states across the country have enacted new voter ID laws that Democrats contend are an effort to suppress blacks and other people of color from voting, Republicans have claimed they had no such intent. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department sued the state of Pennsylvania over its voter ID law—a trial is to begin in a few days.

But the statements of former GOP chairman Jim Greer in Florida demonstrate that suppressing the black vote was foremost on the minds of Florida Republicans. Greer had run the party since 1998.

The explosive allegations came during court proceedings in a lawsuit that Greer filed against the party to collect $130,000 he said the party owes him. Greer had criminal fraud charges filed against him two years ago, which he said were initiated by party leaders as a way to avoid paying him the money he’s owed.

While the charges about the voter suppression meeting are buried in the 630-page court documents that were released on Wednesday, they are significant because they debunk claims that Republican leaders have been trying to make that their efforts to push changes such as requiring voters to present picture IDs are merely ways to prevent fraud and have nothing to do with suppressing the black vote. Florida is one of the states that has been considering a strict new voter ID law, which has been endorsed Republican Gov. Rick Scott, but it hasn’t yet passed.

In the Pennsylvania trial that’s about to begin, Pennsylvania officials were forced to admit that they had no cases of voter fraud they could point to as justifying the voter IDs.

State Sen. John Thrasher, who succeeded Greer as party chairman, called Greer’s allegations “absurd, absolutely absurd” and said Greer is making “baseless accusations on other people in an effort to divert attention from himself.”

Greer is facing corruption charges connected to a company that party leaders now accuse him of creating to funnel party money into. The two sides are engaged in a nasty fight, which resulted in Greer revealing secret discussions that were being conducted about suppressing the black vote.

Greer said the party leaders were also desperate to get rid of former Gov. Charlie Crist because they were upset about some of his actions, such as the appointment of a liberal African-American judge to the Florida Supreme Court, Crist’s endorsement of John McCain for president in 2008 and the hug Crist gave President Barack Obama in 2009.

About Nick Chiles

Nick Chiles is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author. He has written or co-written 12 books and won over a dozen major journalism awards during a journalism career that brought him to the Dallas Morning News, the Star-Ledger of New Jersey and New York Newsday, in addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief of Odyssey Couleur travel magazine.

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