When your accounting business is bustling and you are living off of the charity of Republican donors, and off of taxpayer dollars, life is good when you are Sen. Joe Gruters, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.
In what many members of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) and state legislature believe is reminiscent of former RPOF Chairman Jim Greer, Sen. Gruters is living a very nice, don’t turn on the light lifestyle in Sarasota since becoming chairman of the state party.
Sen. Gruters is a nice hombre, but like one current state legislator told The Floridian, he is not “very well-liked” and his way of protecting some of his very questionable friends, including Grievance Chairman Richard “Dick” DeNapoli, is a lot of the reason why he is disliked within Florida politics.
Gruters refused to allow grievances filed against DeNapoli, who was investigated for potentially committing felony voter fraud in an election and was caught lying about his military service, to be heard.
He and DeNapoli, along with consultant Anthony Pedicini and others are referred to as the “Purple Mafia” of Florida.
We aren’t sure why they are called the “Purple Mafia,” but it’s a nickname that has been circulated around enough to have apparently stuck.
Show me the Money
Gruters’s base salary at the RPOF is $120k and his yearly senate salary is $29,697.
That’s a whole lot of dinero.
The recent grievance filed against him by Bay County REC Chairwoman Debbie Woods for Gruters’s endorsing Griff Griffitts over Trump Activist Brian Clowdus in the Republican primary race for State House District 6, has now brought to light how Gruters may have been profiting off of his position as the chairman of the state GOP.
Gruters is also Griffitts campaign treasurer.
Woods told The Floridian that “Gruters needs to resign immediately” for breaking RPOF rules.
No sooner than The Floridian posted the Woods grievance, dozens of calls came in from around the state for lobbyists, candidates, and elected officials, accusing Gruters of using his position to make money for himself.
We looked into the allegations made against Gruters and found that since assuming the chairmanship, he has been hired by no less than 9 Republican legislators, including Sen. Jim Boyd and Reps. Fiona McFarland, Will Robinson, and Wyman Duggan, to do their campaign accounting.
Gruters is a partner of Robinson, Gruters, and Roberts, CPAs in Sarasota, Florida.
While Gruters has benefitted from being chairman of the RPOF by apparently using his position to corral individuals running for office and running for re-election to elected office, there doesn’t seem to be anything illegal with what he is doing.
Yes, it looks very shady and could be considered unethical, but it's not illegal.
The latest developments coming out of the RPOF are just par for the course for Republicans. There is always drama going on within one of the closets at the state GOP.