“All The Speaker’s Men”
… WHERE DID THEY ALL GO?
Last month this website exclusively reported on a legislative effort (and a sneaky one at that) engineered by S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell to help him evade accountability on public corruption charges.
This story – which soon went national – detailed how Harrell intended to strip S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson of the vast majority of his statutory authority, including his ability to pursue public corruption cases against most elected officials. Wilson, of course, is the official currently probing Harrell’s multitudinous public corruption issues (and taking a good bit of heat from the powerful lawmaker for doing so).
Once we exposed these bills for what they were – i.e. Nixonian attempts on the part of Harrell to save his own skin – lawmakers began to flee them. In fact within twenty-four hours of the bills being filed (and surreptitiously placed on the House calendar by Harrell himself), more than two dozen lawmakers had removed their names as sponsors.
Originally, each bill had eighty-five sponsors (out of 124 members of the S.C. House of Representatives).
“More (removal requests) are coming,” one lawmaker familiar with the exodus told FITS at the time. “People are pissed. They were lied to.”
Our source was absolutely correct …
At last count, Harrell’s bills have only thirty-three sponsors – meaning a whopping 52 lawmakers have defected from the Speaker’s side.
Translation? Harrell’s effort to gut Wilson has failed. In fact the bills are now less about the Attorney General (and his grand jury probe) and more of a demonstration of the Speaker’s waning influence over his own chamber.
In fact one state lawmaker told FITS the bills were now being viewed as an “acid test” of loyalty to Harrell.
“Everyone knows the bills are going nowhere,” the lawmaker told us. “The only purpose they serve is a means for legislators to declare their fealty to Bobby.”
If that’s true, Bobby Harrell is in serious trouble no matter what comes of Wilson’s ongoing criminal investigation …