On Friday — timed just right to minimize news coverage — Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer and the state party Grievance Committee notified a number of party members, many of them holding elective office, that they were effectively purged from the party and had been removed from their offices and would be ineligible to hold any other party positions for periods ranging from two to four years.
The targets of this purge are mostly members of the Florida chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a group which seeks to return the party to its core beliefs of individual liberty, limited government, and free markets. These particular individuals were targeted because they had expressed opinions critical of party policy, candidates, and office holders, on the basis of which the grievance committee decided that they had "engaged in disruptive conduct likely to interfere with the activities of the Republican Party." Acting on the committee's recommendation, Chairman Greer issued letters stripping them of their offices and rights as party members.
This is the culmination of an ongoing assault by a party establishment dominated by big-government Republican hacks seeking to silence grassroots activists who are trying to reform the party and bring it back to the values on which it was founded. Previous actions against the RLC include an attempt to prevent them from using the word “Republican” in their name, despite the fact that the group has used the title for almost 20 years and obtained permission in writing from the party for the use of the name under a prior administration.
The current actions may be at least partially driven by the success of the RLC in Florida, where it has grown to be one of the largest political groups in the state, and by the outspoken support of many members for Marco Rubio, who is challenging incumbent Governor Charlie Crist in the next senatorial election. Many RLC activists supported Ron Paul in the last presidential primary and were not enthusiastic about the McCain nomination, drawing criticism from the party establishment. Also at issue were demands for an audit of the state party and an investigation into financial improprieties by Orange County Chairman Lew Oliver.