SPEAKER PAYS $80,000 TO ATTORNEYS FROM CAMPAIGN ACCOUNT
Embattled S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell (RINO-Charleston) paid two of his personal attorneys $80,000 out of his campaign account earlier this year, state campaign finance documents show.
Harrell paid Charleston, S.C. attorney Gedney Howe $43,000 for “legal fees” on April 24 of this year. The same day he paid Charleston, S.C. attorney Bart Daniel $37,000, also for “legal fees.”
The combined sum constitutes the vast majority of the $95,000 Harrell’s campaign spent during the most recent fundraising quarter – although we’re told it represents only fraction of what he is paying Howe and Daniel for their efforts to defend him against a flood of allegations.
Politicians are permitted to retain counsel at taxpayer expense – or at the expense of their campaign – for matters related to the discharge of their official duties. For example a governor who is sued by an uber-liberal educrat for refusing to accept federal “stimulus” funds (i.e. former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford, who in 2009 was sued by current “Republican” superintendent of education nominee Molly Spearman) would be entitled to hire a lawyer at the taxpayer’s expense.
Harrell’s campaign finance issues are a central focus of the ongoing investigation by S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson – which means it could conceivably be okay for him to pay for part of his defense out of that account. The only opinion issued by the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) on the matter is inconclusive.
Having said that, we don’t think Harrell’s expenditures pass the smell test … and if there’s anybody who should be going above and beyond to avoid even a whiff of corruption at this stage of his political career, it’s Harrell.