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Florida GOP leaders fuming over fundraising contract

TALLAHASSEE -- A lucrative secret contract awarded to the top deputy for Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer has Republican leaders livid as they try to repair the financially ailing party during this key election year.

The contract between Greer and Delmar Johnson -- the 30-year-old staffer named by Greer to be the Republican Party of Florida's executive director -- paid Johnson's company more than $260,000 for fundraising and $42,000 for expenses. Combined with Johnson's $103,000 executive director salary, he was paid at least $405,000 by the party in 2009, according to year-end reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commission.

Both Greer and Johnson are now being forced out of office amid widespread Republican displeasure with their management of party finances.

The two-page contract, first reported by the Orlando Sentinel, gave Johnson's company, Victory Strategies, 10 percent of the money he raised from major donors.

Johnson confirmed Thursday that the contract also included what he called a ``standard'' confidentiality clause prohibiting him from disclosing the contract ``to any person, including major donors or members of the RPOF Finance Committee, without the express approval'' of either Greer or Johnson.

``I don't deny that I was compensated very well for what I did but I thought it was fair,'' Johnson told the Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times Thursday. ``To save money, I was expected to step up and do both jobs, and do it well. In hindsight, would I do it again? Probably not.''

Johnson said could not say which major contributions earned him commissions. He said that ``no authorization was given to release'' the contract but it was ``available for any RPOF officer or board member to view.''

Party leaders, still grappling with Greer's forced resignation last month, are fuming about the little-known agreement.

Read the full story at MiamiHerald.com

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