Powerful S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell (RINO-Charleston) – whose public corruption case was recently referred to a statewide grand jury – announced today that he had been hospitalized this week for a respiratory illness.

“For the last two weeks, I have been experiencing flu-like symptoms. Yesterday afternoon, I went to see a doctor and he diagnosed me as having a respiratory illness,” Harrell said in a statement. “Because of the persistent nature of these symptoms, they advised me to remain at the hospital overnight so they could monitor my condition. I followed my doctor’s advice, and was released from the hospital earlier today. After taking today to rest up, I plan to be at the State House tomorrow to gavel the House into session.”

Hmmmm …

Harrell’s announcement comes on the same day S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s welfare czarina, Lillian Koller, avoided a public hearing into multiple scandals at her agency by referencing an as-yet-undisclosed illness.

Seriously … is there something in the water in Columbia, S.C.?

You know … other than trace levels of cowardice and a total lack of accountability?

All we know is this: If Harrell is setting the stage for an eventual resignation from office due to health reasons, a) that’s great, and b) it’s probably the least transparent thing we’ve ever seen.