Secrecy, lack of transparency plagues Gruters' Republican Party of Florida

Secrecy, lack of transparency plagues Gruters' Republican Party of Florida

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
February 13, 2020

The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) has seen better times, but while the political party continues to lack leadership and transparency from within, it is nowhere near where it was when then-Republican Governor Charlie Crist and Chairman Jim Greer ran the show.

There is a new show in town, but while this one doesn’t match up to drama-filled and police investigating days of Jim Greer, the newer version of the RPOF is unfortunately saddled with its own share of colorful balloons, clapping seals, and big red shoe cover-ups.

Would you believe that there is also an information leak problem at the party?

Since before Gov. Ron DeSantis took office in 2018, there were apparent leaks of all kinds of things, including memos that some individuals may have been falsely accused of leaking.

The Floridian recently found out that those leaks continue to drip out internal information from within the state GOP, and some privy to how the party is currently working are pointing the finger at those at the very top of the RPOF.

One individual, who asked that we keep his/her (current RPOF staff) name out of this story, accused Vice Chairman Christian Ziegler and Chairman Joe Gruters of leaking info about the party to media outlets both men were apparently friendly with.

“Depending on which media outlet reported a story, we know if it's from Christian or Joe,” said the source.

We reached out to Gruters for comment about the recent leaks in question, but the chairman and state representative did not respond to our request for comment.

Ziegler reached out to The Floridian after the story posted, stating "I don't leak anything to press.I'm pretty vocal on Twitter, if u want to know I think, go there."

We did, but the fact still remains that he has been "accused" of leaking information to the press.

Apparently, the DeSantis administration has also expressed concern over recent stories that have come out about the party, but who is leaking or feeding media outlets information about DeSantis?

More on DeSantis’ office leak and the questionable source that continues to brag about having access to come in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

Back to the RPOF.

Gruters and Ziegler are really nice guys who are loyal Republicans, some would say great guys, but their apparent cronyism and the lack of transparency they have displayed leaves many Republicans scratching their heads in disbelief.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that infighting has plagued the Gruters administration since early on.

“I’m not trying to hurt the president,” Levy said. “I’m not trying to hurt the governor. He’s not a bad guy. He (DeSantis) turned out to be pretty good. But he’s surrounded by skunks.”

DeSantis does not have faith in RPOF leadership, this we all know, but it wouldn’t be prudent for the governor to make any drastic changes in an election year, especially when Florida, as is always the case, will make or break the presidential election.

But could Greer-like antics within the RPOF push DeSantis to act in some way, or will it all be swept under the rug like most things are done when it comes to the state GOP?

We recently discovered that in late September 2018, under the leadership of former Chairman Blaise Ingoglia, a grievance was filed against several members of the state party.

Because he did not opt to run for re-election, Ingoglia punted the grievance to the next chairman that would take over in January 2019.

Joe Gruters took control of the helm in January. Shortly after taking office, the grievance in question was scrapped without an explanation.

In the past, most grievances are brought up for discussion and a formal hearing is conducted, regardless of who is mentioned in the complaint.

Even Greer allowed for grievances to be heard, especially the ones he filed. Especially those.

According to an RPOF document we obtained, there is a process in place, an actual rule, to deal with grievances.

Apparently, there must be a concerted effort by leadership to try to resolve grievances between the warring parties involved. In this case, resolving the issue was not an option.

 The document also mentioned that other 2019 grievances were heard and approved by the Executive Board and by Gruters himself.

But why won’t Gruters allow this particular grievance to be heard?

According to our source, the reason why Ingoglia pushed the grievance to the next administration was that the party was focused on DeSantis’ elections, and election day was less than 40 days away when the grievance was filed.

That makes sense, but why was the complaint dismissed without explanation in 2019, a non-election year?

Will it be heard this year?

Those are questions for Chairman Joe Gruters.

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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist and Publisher of,,, and He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Follow on Twitter: @JavManjarres Email him at

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