New information about the contractual arrangements between the Republican Party of Florida and Delmar Johnson, its recently resigned executive director, have, in the words of one press account, left the party “facing its biggest crisis of confidence in decades,” with donors and party activists who are “livid.”
According to the recently revealed information, Mr. Johnson received compensation in excess of $400,000 and another $42,000 for expenses. This amount included $260,000 from a fundraising contract between the party and Victory Strategies, Mr. Johnson's company, which paid the company a 10-percent commission on all “major donations.” The contract was apparently kept secret from party committee members and donors.
Mr. Johnson was appointed to the executive director's position by Republican Party of Florida Chair Jim Greer in January 2009. He resigned from his post effective February 1, 2010 in the wake of the financial problems that caused Mr. Greer to leave his leadership post.
Some party activists see the news about Mr. Johnson as part of a larger problem. Kathleen Shanahan, who served as chief of staff under Gov. Jeb Bush, was quoted as saying that the leadership encouraged “complete disregard for the value of every donor's hard-earned dollar.” Al Hoffman of Ft. Myers, a major donor, said, “It really shakes the confidence of the donor base.”
The Republicans will elect a new state chair on February 20, 2010. The leading candidates to succeed Mr. Greer are Sen. John Thrasher (R-Jacksonville) and Sharon Day of Ft. Lauderdale.