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SPEAKER’S SUPPORTERS: S.C. POLICY COUNCIL VIOLATED TAX-EXEMPT STATUS

Supporters of S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell (RINO-Charleston) are doing everything within their power to push back against the ongoing public corruption investigation into their embattled leader.

How desperate has Team Harrell gotten?

Most recently, it launched a “blood war” against S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson – who referred Harrell’s case to a statewide grand jury back in January. Then there was also Harrell’s clumsy legislative effort to strip Wilson of his prosecutorial power – which appears to have backfired badly.

Of course this is just the latest example of Harrell’s desperation …

After the first allegations of corruption were leveled at him in 2012, he responded like a criminal – lying and refusing to release his records, assassinating the character of one of the reporters who investigated him and then strong-arming her newspaper into backing down (by allegedly threatening to withhold an annual bribe the paper receives from the S.C. General Assembly).

Everything about Harrell’s conduct screams “I’m guilty as sin.” And everyone following Palmetto politics closely knows it.

Harrell’s latest push? An effort to bring a frivolous tax-exempt complaint against the S.C. Policy Council – the libertarian-leaning think tank that filed the original corruption complaint against him in 2013 (the one Wilson referred to the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division and eventually on to the grand jury).

According to our sources Harrell operatives working for his affiliated political action committee – the Palmetto Leadership Council – have ginned up a complaint alleging that the think tank is in violation of its tax-exempt status.

Policy Council sources scoffed at the suggestion – confirming their compliance with all applicable laws governing the activities of non-profits and painting the allegation (accurately, in our estimation) as the latest example of Harrell’s vindictiveness.

Harrell sources insist the complaint is legitimate – reminding us that the Palmetto Leadership Council currently employs a former Policy Council staffer who has “detailed operational knowledge” of the organization.

They declined to provide any evidence of violations, however – or even specify what those violations might have been.

FITS has had an on-again, off-again relationship with the S.C. Policy Council and its president, Ashley Landess – who launched a new media venture in 2010 to compete with this website (unsuccessfully, we might add). As much as we snipe back and forth with the group, though, there’s no denying Landess has taken a leadership role in exposing Harrell’s corruption.

Barring any evidence to the contrary, then, this strikes us as nothing more than another example of Harrell lashing back at his critics …