Lee Bright: Pay To Play Senator?

CANDIDATE’S FEDERAL FILING RAISES SERIOUS ETHICAL QUESTIONS S.C. Sen. Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg) is a paid consultant for a health care company with extensive business before the state of South Carolina – information the second-term lawmaker failed to disclose on his 2014 state-level economic disclosure forms. Complicating matters, the former U.S. Senate…


S.C. Sen. Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg) is a paid consultant for a health care company with extensive business before the state of South Carolina – information the second-term lawmaker failed to disclose on his 2014 state-level economic disclosure forms.

Complicating matters, the former U.S. Senate candidate is a member of the State Senate’s Medical Affairs Committee – which has jurisdiction over this company (and its competitors).  Not only that, Bright has also been aggressively using his position to advance the interests of this particular company, Charlotte N.C.-based Novant Health.

Sound shady?  We think so …

Bright’s financial situation – as FITS readers are well aware – is nothing short of a disaster.  In fact according to documents Bright filed at the very last possible moment during his failed bid for the U.S. Senate, his debt to creditors could top $3 million.

So … is he now trying to pay off some of that debt by leveraging the power of his office?  Because it certainly looks that way …

According to Bright’s May 2014 federal disclosure form – which listed a host of business not included on his state disclosure form – Novant paid him “more than $5,000” during the previous two years.  His job with the company?  “Business development” for Novant’s shared services division – which handles the company’s community partnerships.

Sound familiar?  It should … 

Anyway, Novant was involved in a bitter, decade-long battle to build a new hospital in Fort Mill, S.C. – but dropped out of the running last year due to issues with the state’s “certificate of need” program, which lets the government dictate when and how hospitals are allowed to expand their facilities and services.

We oppose the “certificate of need” program – as does Bright.  In fact Bright has been a consistent vote – and voice – against the program for the last three years, and efforts to reform the “certificate of need” process have been sent to the committee on which he sits.

In 2012, Bright engaged in a high-profile effort to kill funding for the program – an effort we supported.

But was his advocacy bought-and-paid for?  Or did he get the gig with Novant as a reward?

This isn’t the first time Bright has run into ethical questions about his various business associations – as well as allegations of hypocrisy when it comes to his support for “transparency.”

In 2013, Bright participated in a voluntary income disclosure project organized by the S.C. Policy Council – which along with other groups has been pushing for expanded income disclosure at the state level in response to abuses by S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and others.

On the Policy Council’s transparency form (.pdf file here), Bright failed to list income earned as a “business development” consultant with BBD LLC – a company owned by his campaign consultant, Michael Stevens.

Bright filled out his Policy Council form in 2013, while his association with Stevens’ firm began the previous year.  Bright’s employment with a company directly benefiting from his campaign raised serious ethical questions – notably allegations that he was turning campaign contributions into cash.

Now Bright is once again squarely in the crosshairs of an ethical scandal.

“This has the makings of a serious issue for Bright,” one Palmetto politico told FITS. “Why does a health company hire a guy with no health experience – who just happens to be on the medical committee?  It smells really bad, even if he’s innocent.”

We agree ..

Bright is a tremendously consistent vote for less government in the State Senate – one of the few solid pro-free market votes in that chamber (well, except for his recent decision to support of liberal Hugh Leatherman for Senate President).  But his sanctimonious moralizing, personal financial problems and ongoing ethical issues are starting to erode his position.

FITS did not support Bright’s U.S. Senate bid – much to the chagrin of many Tea Partiers in the Palmetto State.  Why not?  We felt he lacked the credibility to speak on matters of fiscal responsibility.

Now it appears as though Bright lacks the credibility to speak on ethics issues, as well …


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euwe max August 11, 2014 at 8:41 pm

You can’t be too choosy when you’re looking for tea party candidates. I suggest you look past the fact he’s nuttier than squirrel shit.

Twit August 11, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Novant was pissed that they got screwed under Certificate of Need. Which explains why they now want CON to die?

Cronies everywhere August 12, 2014 at 9:59 am

Certificate of Need is one of the worst “crony” type business events.

Think about it, our government restricts competition via these certificates, in essence making healthcare cost more for all of us(though they’ll claim the exact opposite) by stifling competition. Not only that, those in charge of deciding who does and doesn’t get the certificate wield tremendous power that surely attracts lobbying dollars, corrupting the people and the process.

It’s completely unnecessary. If someone wants to open a hospital right next door to another, then let them and may the best service win.

Yet another government destruction of any semblance of free markets, to the harm of taxpayers.

Dummies Unite! August 11, 2014 at 9:59 pm

The only thing dumber than this clown?

The Dummies that Elect him!

nitrat August 11, 2014 at 10:43 pm

The Dummies that Hire him!

Smirks August 12, 2014 at 8:31 am

Both wrong, it’s the dummies that work for him. They could lose their jobs at any moment working for a guy like this.

Sandi Morals August 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm

“Now it appears as though Bright lacks the credibility to speak on ethics issues….”
Can FITS favorites T-Rav and Tom Ervin-Williams speak for him? After all a convicted felon that has renounced his American citizenship and a political candidate whose wife has supported one of his opponents financially , in my opinion, would be more credible as as defenders of the citizens of SC. :-)
Hang in there Lee.

SCBlues August 12, 2014 at 8:34 am

Can you ever just shut the fuck up? And is it my imagination or do you post and then immediately vote yourself up?

Smirks August 12, 2014 at 8:38 am

Can you ever just shut the fuck up?

Can you pay more than Haley?

Sandi Morals August 12, 2014 at 9:02 am

Not while socialist perverts like you, ‘sparklecity’ and Smirks are running around SC trying to destroy this nation.
I do vote my posts ‘up’ ocaasionally if they are brilliant.
p.s. you and ‘sparklecity’ get a room….those posts from last week to him and the weird sex acts were frankly disturbing you race-baiting cocksucker….
Have a great day. :-)

sparklecity August 12, 2014 at 11:09 am

Be advised that if you reply to “Sandi Morals” you will be replying to a proven liar and coward.
No wonder he/she/it is carrying the water for Lee Bright
And yes, the people who voted for this cretin (Lee Bright) are the ones to blame for him still holding office.

Philip Branton August 12, 2014 at 8:26 am

Hmm…..where was he when 900 Million was passed to BOEING without a vote by the citizens…??

He sure gave Fits a heads up about that……….

Smirks August 12, 2014 at 8:29 am

So a failed businessman runs up a credit of $3 million on a failed campaign?


SCBlues August 12, 2014 at 8:35 am

I wish he’d take down the rest of his signs that are still littering various telephone poles in the area . . .

Smirks August 12, 2014 at 8:42 am

It’s only a matter of time before Lee blames the gubmint for causing his campaign to fail, just like his business. Maybe he’ll blame his failure to pick up the signs on gubmint too.

SCBlues August 12, 2014 at 8:33 am

Any company that would hire Lee Bright as a “paid consultant” must be in dire straights . . .

TheTruth August 12, 2014 at 11:30 am

I tried to tell you about him when you first started talking about him.

He is as slimy as they come. I dare say there is one less member slimier in all our State government. Faking cancer as a kid to garner sympathy, cheating vendors and employees alike at every turn. Probably screwing customers as well. Now preaching less gov’t out of one side of the mouth while using his office to suck the teats of shady businesses out the other side.

I told you the truth about him FITS but you wouldn’t listen. Sometimes you should champion the message and ignore or condemn the person saying it. Roseanne Barr singing the National Anthem comes to mind. Just because you agree with or like the national anthem doesn’t mean you protect her.

GO FITS August 12, 2014 at 12:02 pm

That’s okay. As long as FITS allows us to post our opinion or add to the content that he may not be aware of I”m still a fan.

Also, give it to you FITS, I think you’re calling them like you see them. Your credibility monitor is ticking up. I just can’t wait until you find a solid reason to make ole T-Rav walk the plank.

Tom August 12, 2014 at 11:50 am

This is like typical Republican behavior, right? A Republican being paid by people for their vote. This is a surprise. Jack Abramoff, that guy who bought Duke Cunningham’s boat, that guy who paid the Governor of Virginia and his wife, Howard Rich, The Koch Brothers, etc. etc. etc.

This is what happens when you don’t get big money out of politics.

Michael J. Stefonick August 14, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Look, here is the deal. The State Reps do not make enough money to even eat at McDonalds, pay rent, support families, put gas in the to drive to the lawyer supported parties. If a person for office has no authenticated income to volunteer to support the citizens of SC then you know you have a fraud. It called grab what ever I can to pocket money. It’s all over SC. One of the biggest cons in the USA. It says I’m for sale. Think about it folks $11,500.00 per year income. Welfare is more profitable. When will SC wake up. If you want good people you have to pay them or else they will sell out the state to the highest bidder. I am happy to post this because I have been a victim and so has my family.


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