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Former S.C. Secretary of State and Lt. Governor’s Chief of Staff Jim Miles has returned to his former role as chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer – a bizarre and controversial eleventh hour hire of a dubious character (by a lame duck official).

In fact, just over a year ago Bauer fired Miles as his chief of staff for his involvement in “Senior Scam,” a highly-unethical for-profit shakedown that sought to manipulate a $1.2 million taxpayer-funded directory that was created to provide a free service for older adults, people with disabilities, their family members and caregivers. Current SCGOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd was also involved in the scam, making tens of thousands of dollars off of its advertising contracts.

The Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier and FITSNews led the investigation into “Senior Scam,” as well the investigation into Miles’ previous affiliation with multiple pyramid scams. In fact, since Miles was fired, at least two states have shut down pyramid scams connected to the one-time statewide official and GOP gubernatorial candidate.

Frankly, we have no clue what Bauer is thinking with this re-hire …

This is as morally-questionable an individual as we have ever come across in our years of covering South Carolina politics – and trust us, that’s saying something.

Seriously, we don’t get it. In an office that is charged with protecting the most vulnerable South Carolinians, Bauer has inexplicably decided to rehire a person whose only known talent is ripping them off for his own gain.

That’s quite a contrast from Bauer’s soon-to-be former chief of staff Helen Ann Thrower, who earned high marks from lawmakers, agency heads and the media for her management of the Lt. Governor’s office.

Sources tell FITS that Thrower will continue to serve as a senior advisor to the Lt. Governor while taking on additional legal duties in his office, as well as an expanded role in the Office on Aging.

The future of current Office on Aging director Tony Kester is less clear, however, with alternating reports circulating about his fate.