|CALL TO ACTION ON REPUBLICAN CROOK BOBBY HARRELL|
|Posted by Guest Author|
|Friday, 28 September 2012|
A Call to Action
By Harry Kibler
When the reporter began investigating the story, a member of the Ethics Commission (an independent state agency) offered their opinion on ethics rules and violations that appeared to be obvious. However, when the reporter asked for additional information, the commission stated “We are not authorized to comment on matters involving members of the General Assembly.”
The House and Senate each have their own Ethics Committees which “investigate” possible violations of State ethics laws. The Chairman of the House Ethics Committee is Roland Smith from Aiken, SC. When the Post and Courier reporter ask Smith about Harrell’s self-reimbursements, Smith replied “I can’t comment on anything about the Ethics Committee”. He went on to say “I’m not trying to avoid the situation; You know I can’t afford to talk about it. I can’t talk about it.”
Monday evening, I contacted many SC Representatives asking their opinions on the ethics questions that loom over Speaker Harrell. Each Representative replied “I don’t know anything about the story”. One Representative stated “satin does exist and she works for the Post and Courier”. One Representative who serves on the House Ethics Committee also stated he was not aware of the questions into Harrell’s reimbursements.
So, we have the State Ethics Commission refusing to comment, the Chairman of the House Ethics Committee acknowledging that “he can’t afford to talk about it”, members of the Ethics Committee that are not aware or the story and other members of the House that immediately became hostile toward the reporter who brought the story to light.
Is there any doubt that South Carolina rightfully earned the reputation as the 5th Most Corrupt State in the Nation according to the Center for Public Integrity? How can South Carolina be anything less than corrupt when 5 out of the 6 members on the House Ethics Committee that must investigate have received campaign contributions from Speaker Harrell’s PAC?
Regardless of Harrell’s innocents or guilt, every South Carolinian should be outraged that lawmakers have designed a system whereby they can police themselves and feign ignorance when ethics are questioned. We should also be outraged that their “investigations” do not have to be made public.
Again I stress, I don’t know if Speaker Harrell is innocent or guilty. However, I believe we will never know if his self-reimbursement ethics questions are investigated by a Committee that he appointed and has given money to. Speaker Harrell and every member of the South Carolina House of Representatives should demand the investigation be turned over to the South Carolina Attorney General.
The Attorney General investigated allegations made against former Lt. Governor Ken Ard. Once the investigation ended, most South Carolinians had confidence that justice prevailed and the rule of law was upheld. The only way we can be assured of a fair and honest investigation will be completed is if the questions of Harrell’s self-reimbursements totaling $325,000 will be if the members of the SC House demand the investigation be conducted by the Attorney General. Otherwise, there will always be a cloud of doubt on their self-policing practice.
Some members of the House Ethics Committee have stated they will not begin an investigation until after the November election. Why? They feel it would impair Harrell’s re-election efforts. If you were accused of violating State law wouldn’t you want to clear your name as quickly as possible? Wouldn’t you at least want to go into the election with voters being assured that a fair investigation would be conducted?
Other House members have stated that this should not turn into a political story. Speaker Harrell had 30 days to supply the Post and Courier with receipts that would have answered all questions and the story may not have been written at all. After all, providing receipts for campaign expenditures is already required by law. Now, Speaker Harrell has spoken to another reporter and offered receipts for his self-reimbursements. Why would he provide receipts to a reporter that didn’t request them when he wouldn’t offer the receipts to the reporter that was investigating the questionable reimbursements?
Your Call to Action
Isn’t it time to make South Carolina first in Education and last in Corruption?
|Last Updated on Friday, 28 September 2012|
Source: CALL TO ACTION ON CROOK BOBBY HARRELL