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FITSNews – February 8, 2008 – The fact that “Queen Jean” (a.k.a. S.C. Supreme Court Justice Jean Toal) is holding a fancypants reception for state lawmakers next week really isn’t big news. Well, unless you happen to be one of the eight political geeks who flip to page B3 of La Socialista every Tuesday thru Friday morning to read “where and when lawmakers can eat and drink for free – and who’s paying.”

It’s a nice little public information service, but let’s not get too carried away over it. After all, here in South Carolina “fancypants” means barbecue. And not any of that mustard-based crap, neither.

Anyway, these notoriously unimpressive booze and buffet shin-digs are typically funded by fat cat special interests with specific legislation in mind, but more than a few of them are paid for with taxpayer dollars. Which leads us to Queen Jean’s little get-together, which if you want to join us in crashing (you’re a taxpayer, right?) is taking place from 6:00-8:00 P.M. Tuesday Night at the Clarion Clown … err … Town House, a respectable little downtown hotel that becomes a den of drunkenness, corruption and infidelity from January to June of each year when S.C. lawmakers show up to claim their reduced room rates.

But that’s neither here nor there … what we’d like to know from the Queen is one simple question, basically the question one loyal FITSNews reader (and prominent Lowcountry attorney) asked us to find out for her. Specifically:

Is this being sponsored by one branch of government as a thank you to the other branch of government? Who pays for this? Is this a lobbyist function? Is Warren Tompkins paying for this? Is this an official South Carolina Judicial Department function? Is taxpayer money being used? Will Lee Coggiola be there with a little legal pad to try to work out final deals for a couple of lawyer legislators in trouble with the ODC? Will some judges who are up for re-election next year get to stand by the front door right beside Queen Jean? Will there be liquor? Who is paying for that? Did each judge have to ante up a little bit? Is the amount they pay prorated to how far off in the future their re-election might be? Those up for re-election next year have to pay ten times what those who are up for re-election in 9 years have to pay? Is this a suck up event before the ABA comes crashing down in March?

Alright, that’s actually fourteen questions. But to be perfectly honest, they all seem like perfectly valid inquiries to us …

We’d also like to add one additional interrogative: How much does Queen Jean pay Mr. Tompkins’ firm each year for his lobbying services, which we sure as hell hope are better than his electoral services.

So what say you, Queen Jean? Shoot us an e-mail right cheer and give us the straight dope … if, that’s possible.

Hell, we’ll even let you wait 48 hours to respond, sort of like you did after that little bar exam scandal we broke off on your Court last November.

Look forward to hearing from you soon …