The war of words has begun …

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office is categorically rejecting S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell’s claim that Wilson’s office failed to notify Harrell’s attorneys of his surprise decision to refer the powerful legislative leader’s corruption case to a statewide grand jury.

“It is disappointing that the Attorney General notified the press before contacting my attorneys or me about this decision,” Harrell said in a statement.

Wilson’s spokesman Mark Powell flatly rebuked that claim.

“We were on the phone with his lawyer informing them of our decision forty-five minutes before the media release went out,” Powell told FITS.

Harrell is under investigation over numerous issues. For starters, he inappropriately reimbursed himself more than $325,000 from his campaign account for dubious flight-related expenses (Harrell is a pilot).  He also stands accused of applying improper pressure on the S.C. Pharmacy Board and the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (SCLLR) on behalf of his pharmaceutical business – using his official letterhead, no less.  Additionally, his political action committee is facing scrutiny for allegedly misappropriating and misreporting funds – including an effort to force taxpayers to pay hundreds of millions of dollars on an unnecessary transportation project.

Funding for this $558 million project has been approved – thanks in no small part to Harrell’s potentially illegal advocacy.

What’s next in the Harrell-Wilson saga?

Who knows …

We’ve been on the phone with our sources all afternoon trying to make heads or tails of Wilson’s surprise decision …

UPDATE: Wilson’s office has just issued the following statement: “This is an ongoing investigation and we cannot comment on the substance of it. We cannot and will not release any SLED report, or any other documents. Moreover, Speaker Harrell’s attorney was notified by phone at least 30 minutes before the media advisory was released. These are the facts, and we will have no further comment.”