Bobby Harrell: More Plane Problems?
DID SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE SPEAKER VIOLATE FEDERAL RULES?
S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell (RINO-Charleston) has already been caught red-handed artificially inflating the value of self-reimbursements paid from his campaign account. As reported exclusively last month by investigative journalist Renee Dudley – formerly of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier – Harrell reimbursed himself more than $325,000 from his campaign account over the last four years.
Harrell – who pilots a Cirrus SR-22 owned by his private company – repeatedly reimbursed himself in the amount of “$800 or $900 a leg” for political flights taken on this plane.
Are these self-payments legitimate?
No … at least not according to flight cost data on Harrell’s plane obtained by FITS. Meanwhile Harrell – while publicly protesting his innocence – has already effectively admitted his guilt by returning $23,000 worth of these dubious self-payments to his campaign account. Oh … and nearly a month after the story first broke he has yet to provide a complete accounting for the rest of these reimbursements.
So much for transparency in government, right?
Clearly these reimbursements are rotten to their core … but Harrell (like S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley before him) has successfully evaded accountability thanks to the “cover up crew” over at the S.C. House Ethics Committee, which currently has the exclusive authority to investigate corruption cases involving current or former state lawmakers.
Let the back-scratching begin, right?
In fact the ethically challenged chairman of this “ethics” committee – S.C. Rep. Roland Smith (RINO-Aiken) – has already gone on the record saying he “can’t afford” to even discuss the allegations against his powerful legislative boss, let alone investigate them.
Why not? Because he’s taken money from Harrell and owes his chairmanship to him.
Looks like we’re headed for yet another whitewash, right?
Yet while Harrell may have South Carolina “on lockdown” regarding the allegations against him, he may have also broken federal laws governing air travel.
According to our sources, Harrell – who is said to have a commercial pilot’s license – may have lacked the required FAA medical certification for piloting commercial flights. In fact his commercial license may have even precluded him from transporting passengers for hire – or reimbursement.
Hmmmmm … does that mean Harrell’s reimbursement scandal could result in an FAA enforcement action?
According to one of our sources at The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier, information on Harrell’s FAA problems was provided to the paper over a week ago – but once again the story was killed by editors “sympathetic to Harrell.”
While Harrell has thus far dodged the consequences of his actions legally, he has been pilloried publicly. In fact sources who attended the University of South Carolina’s October 13 football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana tell FITS that Harrell was openly mocked in the stands – and became visibly red-faced when he was peppered with questions about his travel.
“He was very upset,”one source told us. “I’ve never seen him that angry.”