An energy firm with extensive business before the State of South Carolina recently paid a sitting S.C. Senator’s law firm more than half a million dollars.

The Malloy Law Firm – a Hartsville, S.C.-based firm owned by S.C. Sen. Gerald Malloy – received $535,000 from Progress Energy, according to the Senator’s 2010 statement of economic interests.

What did Malloy’s firm do for that money? Not much, sources tell FITS.

“Senator Malloy strong armed Progress Energy into paying him an inordinate amount to represent them,” one source claims, adding that Malloy’s firm “does modest work in proportion to the amount he is paid.

FITS is digging into the relationship between Malloy and Progress in the hopes of obtaining a detailed accounting of the services he provided them. We’re also investigating another alleged “pay-to-play” scam involving the veteran lawmaker, who has served in the State Senate since 2002.

According to our sources, both local newspapers in Hartsville have been provided with extensive information regarding Malloy’s various ethical issues but have been afraid to report on them … a reticence we do not share.

This wouldn’t be the first time Malloy’s business dealings have caused controversy. He’s one of several S.C. lawyer-legislators who has turned a handsome profit by keeping our state’s workers’ compensation laws as anti-competitive as possible – and he’s also been involved in a number of ethically dubious lawsuits involving industries he was simultaneously attempting to regulate.

Also, Malloy obviously wouldn’t be the first State Senator to get paid big bucks for not a lot of work.

On a personal level we’ve always liked Malloy. His voting record is atrocious, mind you, but unlike the “Republicans” who run state government he’s always shot us straight about what he believes (and why). Having said that, we’re compelled to dig into the various allegations that are being made against him … not just because they raise potentially serious ethicalĀ  issues, but because no one else seems willing to do it.