In what sources describe as an effort to “save face” following a pair of articles appearing on this website (here and here), U.S. Rep. Tom Rice and his former field representative Stephanie Rawlinson sat with each other at last weekend’s annual S.C. “Republican” Party banquet.
Of course the happy show didn’t last long, as sources tell FITS Rawlinson got “hammered” at the event and had to be escorted to the parking lot by the end of the evening.
The back story? Well, we’ve been able to establish that there has been some major “girl drama” between Rawlinson and Jennifer Watson, who runs Rice’s Myrtle Beach, S.C. operation. Watson is married to one of Rice’s longtime friends and has been his paralegal for more than two decades.
“Jennifer is the puppet master,” one source tells FITS.
She’s also no fan of Florence, and has been accused of working tirelessly to undermine Rice’s efforts in the region.
“Jennifer delayed (opening the) Florence office as long as she possibly could and then only gave Florence two employees for six counties while (Myrtle Beach) had five employees for the other two counties in the seventh district,” one Rice staffer tells FITS. “She only wanted there to be a beach office and a (Washington) office so she could control the state from the beach.”
Who stepped in? Wrenzie Rice, the congressman’s wife and closest political advisor.
“Wrenzie had to send her personal painter from the beach to Florence to paint the office because Jennifer would not get anyone to paint it so the office could open,” one source recalls. “Wrenzie had to do almost everything herself to get the Florence office open. Jennifer did everything she could not to let it open, to delay everything. Wrenzie finally figured out what she was doing.”
But is there more to this drama than just a bunch of bickering political biddies?
Sources close to Rice tell FITS that investigators are reexamining Rawlinson’s testimony before the statewide grand jury that investigated former S.C. Lt. Governor Ken Ard. Specifically, questions have been raised as to whether Rawlinson – who worked for Ard – honestly answered questions about her role in his “cash for contributions” scandal.
One source close to the grand jury provided FITS with details of Rawlinson’s testimony that appears to conflict with emails and statements made in media accounts about her involvement with Ard’s finances.
“Whether (the grand jury) knows she lied or not, she lied,” our Rice source said.
Obviously that would be a crime …