Former Republican Governor Charlie Crist will be speaking at the Democratic national convention, and his new employment at a personal injury law firm owned by a major Obama fundraiser may be a factor.
At Time’s Swampland blog today, an effusive Tim Padgett fills some of the background on Crist’s journey:
For starters, Obama owes Charlie a favor: Crist’s plunge from Republican grace began in 2009, when he not only backed Obama’s $787 billion stimulus but gave the Prez an onstage hug. A year later, facing a tough U.S. Senate primary battle against Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio, Crist bolted the GOP, insisting that extremists had hijacked it. As an independent, he lost to Rubio anyway. Since then Crist, once one of Florida’s most popular chief executives – called the Sunshine Governor for his George Hamilton tan and tireless optimism – has lived in a political wilderness. Now, by endorsing Obama for re-election, Crist just might be making a comeback as a Democrat.
Might be? Bet on it. However, Pagent’s stort leaves out one big detail of Christ’s political connections; his new employer, the mega law firm of Morgan and Morgan and his friend, politcal backer and new boss John Morgan.
The Morgan and Morgan law firm is well known in Florida and several other states for its extensive advertising on taxicabs, billboards and television ads that often feature John Morgan.
Another detail about Morgan and Morgan that will interest longtime Breitbart readers is that the firm is heavily involved in the Pigford 2 'black famers' settlement, although they had no role in first Pigford settlement or with the ongoing woman and Latino farmer settlements. The Morgan and Morgan Pigford 2 team includes Mike Espy, the former USDA secretary under Bill Clinton.
As John Morgan says in his book You Can’t Teach Hungy: "Nothing is about today. Everything is about tomorrow." He's a long term thinker and the plan to rebrand Crist seems to a long play.
The orchestration was pitch perfect. Just prior to the Republican National Convention in Florida, the state's former Governor announced that he would be endorsing Barack Obama in the 2012 election. Then mid-RNC, it was announced that Crist would be speaking at the Democratic National Convention the following week.
The move has big messaging benefits for the Democrats as well as Crist. The narrative of a former Republican Governor leaving a party that he claims became "too extreme" fits right into the mainstream media messaging of labeling Tea Party values like fiscal restraint and a desire to abide by the Constition as as "extreme." It also provided a counter to former Democrast Artur Davis’s speech at the RNC.
How deep are Morgan and Morgan’s Democrat connections? When I raised the issue with someone close to the firm, they mentioned that Morgan’s wife is a Republican. In fact, John Morgan made news earlier this year when he showed up at Republican fundraiser. The Orlando Journal-Sentinel reported:
Morgan – known for his “For the people” television commercials – has always played both sides politically; he was a big backer of former Gov. (and former Republican) Charlie Crist , who’s now affiliated with the Morgan law firm. And when asked to speak to the well-heeled crowd, Morgan joked that they shouldn’t be shocked he was attending the event, because “I sleep with a Republican every night,” a reference to his wife, Ultima.
He added he was available to offer his services if anyone was injured in an auto accident
An interesting pattern emerges when looking at the donation records of attorneys employed by Morgan and Morgan that appears to give the phrase "Republicans in name only" new meaning. Whatever their declared party affiliations, it appears that the vast majority of their donations actually go to Democrats. There are many employees of Morgan and Morgan listed as Republican who donated money to liberal firebrand Debbie Wasserman Schultz, for example.
And what about Ultima Morgan, John Morgan’s “Republican” wife? Here you can see that she donated $35,000 to the Obama Victory Fund. A search from opensecrets.org shows over $65,000 in donations to President Obama in addition to two donations to Democratic Sen. Robert Casey. No donations to Republican candidates or issues are indicated.
Ultimately, it seems that Mrs. Morgan is just as Republican as Charlie Crist is.
Image credit: Justin Elliott, Salon.com