Like a totalitarian dictator greedily gobbling up new titles and powers, S.C. Sen. Hugh Leatherman (RINO-Florence) solidified his already vice-like grip over South Carolina’s state government this week by adding the presidency of the State Senate to his resume.

Just as we predicted …

By a 42-2 vote, the “Republican-controlled” South Carolina Senate elected Leatherman – a former Democrat – to be its new leader.

The vote came moments after S.C. Sen. Yancey McGill (D-Williamsburg) – who held the powerful post for all of fifteen minutes – “ascended” to become lieutenant governor of South Carolina in the wake of the resignation of Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell from that office.

In addition to occupying the highest-ranking leadership position in the S.C. General Assembly, Leatherman is also chairman of the powerful Senate finance committee, a member of the state’s budget board and its debt-authorizing bond review board.

“Leatherman was already in a class above the others,” one S.C. State House observer told FITS. “Now he’s creating a new class of power like no one has ever seen in state government.”

The corrupt politician‘s stranglehold on power at the state level was not accomplished without objection, though.


Prior to the vote, S.C. Sen. Shane Massey – a part-time reformer from Aiken, S.C. – took to the podium to call Leatherman’s ascension into question.

“I don’t think what’s happened is decent. It is indecent,” Massey said.

He added that Leatherman effectively bribed his way into his new office by promising goodies to lawmakers via a “budget done in secret.”

“We all know he’s got the checkbook and isn’t afraid to use it,” Massey said.

Additionally, Massey said Leatherman helped orchestrate the hiring of McConnell at the College of Charleston – which is likely to become the recipient of tens of millions of state tax dollars in its bid to become South Carolina’s fourth government-funded “research university.”

That’s true … Leatherman was intimately involved in McConnell’s controversial hiring – as this website exclusively reported last December. He has also been instrumental in pushing additional funding for the college through the state budget.

Massey rebuked this dirty dealing … comparing Leatherman to a gangster.

“This was a well-orchestrated coup, a hit,” he said, adding that the “University of Charleston bill is what got the ball rolling.”

“This body has sanctioned the coup. We are accessories to the hit,” Massey added.

Unfortunately, he declined to nominate anyone – or himself – as an alternative.

Massey and S.C. Sen. Tom Davis – a free market fiscal conservative from Beaufort, S.C. – were the only lawmakers to vote against Leatherman, who ran unopposed.

After the vote, “Republican” majority leader Harvey Peeler made a motion to insert Massey’s remarks into the Senate Journal. That motion was objected to by liberal “Republican” Ray Cleary, though.

Pic: Travis Bell Photography