Crist picks former top aide as new Senator from Florida

Florida Governor Charlie Crist named the successor to Mel Martinez. George LeMiuex, who was Crist’s chief of staff, will serve the remainder of Martinez’s term. The Miami Herald reports that LeMieux is Crist’s “political shadow.” And, Charlie Crist is already running for this seat in next year’s election. Turns out LeMieux is already quite controversial within GOP circles, according to the Herald:

While LeMieux has steadily avoided discussing the clients he represented at Gunster Yoakley, he had to disclose on a Senate questionnaire last week that he had a consulting business, MTC Strategies, named after each initial of his three boys. Federal election records show he earned $150,000 in consulting fees in the past 13 months from the Republican Party of Florida.

LeMieux wouldn’t discuss what he did to earn that money.

LeMieux said he’s representing the Florida Department of Transportation in negotiations with Florida East Coast railroad and he’s negotiating the Seminole Tribe of Florida gambling agreement on Crist’s behalf for free.

But Republican operative Roger Stone, who has campaigned publicly against the choice of LeMieux for the Senate, questioned whether LeMieux was really working pro bono. Stone pointed to a Herald/Times blog report showing that 71 percent of the $912,000 the Seminoles directly gave to the Republican Party since 1996 was donated since Crist took over party fundraising after he won the 2006 Republican governor’s race primary.

“The pattern of giving and the flow of money to LeMieux are deeply concerning,” said Stone, who has done political work for South Florida pari-mutuels opposed to the Seminole compact. “I don’t see how you can be an objective negotiator with the tribe when it appears as if he was paid by the Seminoles using RPOF as a pass through.”

It’s a little shady when a prominent party activist/consultant won’t disclose what he does for pay. But, it’s very, very shady when a U.S. Senator won’t disclose it.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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