This website hasn’t had much nice to say about S.C. Rep. Jimmy Merrill (RINO-Daniel Island) in recent years … largely because the former “Republican” majority leader has done little over that period to warrant praise.

But rather than proceed further down the “backhanded compliment” road by revisiting Merrill’s many instances of dubious taxpayer loyalty, we’re going to get right to the point and show him some well-deserved love.

What for? Well, last month Merrill became one of the first South Carolina lawmakers to stand up to the corrupt leaders of the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission (SCRSIC) – the shady crew that’s been running one of the worst-performing, least-transparent pension funds in America.

Last September, this website exclusively reported on $1.4 million in bonuses paid out to the managers of this $25 billion fund – a surprisingly tone deaf move considering its abysmal results.

The only elected official who opposed these bonuses? S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis – who has been a one-man wrecking crew when it comes to exposing the failure of this fund as well as the shameless self-serving behavior of its corrupt commissioners, led by Hugh Leatherman appointee Reynolds Williams.

Has so-called “reformer” S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley helped Loftis? Absolutely not. In fact her appointee to the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission (SCRSIC) led a recent effort to censure Loftis – and she’s been working behind the scenes to block an audit of the corrupt commission.

Now Loftis is getting some help from Merrill, though …

At a House budget committee meeting last month, Merrill not only blocked funding for future bonuses – he put the kibosh on a bizarre anti-Loftis tirade by former S.C. Sen. Greg Ryberg, who is being paid a six-figure government salary to attack the Treasurer on a daily basis.

Called to present the SCRSIC’s budget request, Ryberg instead launched into what one lobbyist referred to as a “full-on, mouth-foaming rant” against the Treasurer. Lawmakers of both parties repeatedly attempted to interrupt Ryberg – but they were unsuccessful. He never presented a budget request at the meeting.

Ryberg has embarked on a mission from Williams to “blow up” the relationship between the commission and the Treasurer. By doing so, Williams hopes to give Leatherman – who will likely restore the bonus funding – the leverage he needs to have the Treasurer thrown off of the investment commission.

And so we have Ryberg getting paid $161,000 a year (closer to $200,000 with benefits) to basically chase Loftis around the S.C. State House with insults, taunts, nasty letters and the like.

What does this taxpayer-funded vendetta ignore?

The basic facts of the case. South Carolina’s pension plan is the most expensive public pension plan in the country. Additionally, it paid $427.5 million in fees to Wall Street money managers last year – while it’s returns were in the bottom 20 percent of all large funds.

Not only that, Williams’ business made over $100,000 last year – off of one investment alone.

Apparently, in South Carolina, it is legal to profit from the funds you are supposed to protect …

This website has consistently had Loftis’ back in his efforts to expose all of this nonsense … and will continue to. It’s just nice to see him getting some long-overdue support from lawmakers.

Props to Merrill for standing on the side of right on this issue …