Sheriff hires political operative

One straight from the "politics makes strange bedfellows" playbook: Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, a Democrat who often speaks of his support for President Obama, has hired the founder of Tea Party Miami as a "community relations specialist" at the Broward Sheriff's Office.

Dianne Thorne, who is also the executive director of a Libertarian Party group, was hired by Israel on May 13 at a salary of $60,000 to help him schedule his days and assist in community events. She's also a Realtor.

Thorne, of Miami, has numerous political ties to Israel. Her stepson, Andrew Miller, contributed $120,000 to a pro-Scott Israel PAC during the election. And she's best-known as the long-time administrative assistant to shadowy political operative Roger Stone, who got his start as a self-proclaimed dirty trickster working for Richard Nixon and later served as political director for Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein.

While working for Rothstein in 2008 Stone orchestrated a smear campaign on Israel that helped then-Sheriff Al Lamberti beat him at the polls. But in the recent election, Stone switched sides to back Israel and used groups like Tea Party Miami to engage in backhanded attacks on Lamberti. Stone also helped formulate Israel's election with campaign strategist Ron Gunzburger, whom Israel has installed as general counsel at BSO. Stone and Miller are also involved in a propaganda website called the Broward Bugle that often touts the sheriff.

Israel through staff denied that the hire of Thorne was political payback. The hire follows news last week that Israel was hiring Marc Kiar, the brother of Broward County Commissioner Marty Kiar, a political ally of the sheriff.