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For those of you new to FITS, we’ve had less than flattering things to say about political animals like Mallory Factor … and about Mallory Factor himself.

We’re not big fans of “policy-by-circle-jerk,” and the notion of listening to a bunch of self-important WASPs drone on about how conservative they are has never particularly appealed to us. Nor has the notion of attending earthier, um, “mancampments.” Don’t get us wrong … we love the smell of Cognac and Cubans in the evening, we just prefer to enjoy those finer things with people who follow through on their rhetoric.

You know … like call girls.

Having said that, the unavoidable truth is that upper-tier activists like Mallory Factor get to rub shoulders with decision-makers at the state and national level in a way that we … well, don’t. That counts for something, especially since these are the people spending – and too often wasting – our tax dollars.

In fact, New York Magazine once called Factor “The ATM for (George W.) Bush’s America.” Sic Willie? He’s lucky if his ATM card has sufficient funds …

Anyway, based on a successful meeting of the minds that he has organized previously in New York City, Factor has launched a new political forum in his adopted hometown of Charleston, S.C. It’s called (quite ingeniously) “The Charleston Meeting,” and one of the upper-crusters fortunate enough to earn an invite to its inaugural soiree forwarded us this email outlining its particulars …

Mallory Factor
MajGen James E. Livingston, USMC (Ret)
Andrew Boucher
Michael S. Smith II

You are cordially invited to join The Charleston Meeting.

An off-the-record, by-invitation-only forum hosted in Charleston, S.C., The Charleston Meeting will facilitate important policy- and issue-focused exchanges between an exclusive group of business and civic leaders, conservative thought leaders, prominent political activists, and high-profile elected officials from state and federal levels of government.

There is no financial obligation to join The Charleston Meeting. To ensure the utmost discretion regarding your participation our membership list will not be shared with anyone, including our speakers and members of the Meeting itself.

Our first meeting will be hosted December 6, 2010 (6:30 – 7:30 p.m.). This meeting will take place in the Linguard Room at the French Quarter Inn (166 Church Street, Charleston, S.C.). A cocktail reception will follow the meeting downstairs in Tristan Restaurant.

The list of featured speakers for the December 6 meeting presently includes (in order of confirmation):

Curtis Loftis
South Carolina State Treasurer-Elect
Shakedown 2011: The incoming Treasurer’s campaign to improve state government

Chip Campsen
South Carolina State Senator
S.C. Senate District 43, Berkeley and Charleston Counties
Accountability at the Budget and Control Board: Is there such a thing?

Chip Limehouse
South Carolina State Representative
S.C. House District 110, Berkeley and Charleston Counties
What you should know about the State Infrastructure Bank

MajGen Robert E. Livingston, Jr., SCNG
South Carolina Adjutant General-Elect
Defend the Homeland: The Adjutant General’s Agenda for 2011

Larry Grooms
South Carolina State Senator
S.C. Senate District 37, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton and Dorchester Counties
State of the Port: Infrastructure investments that will keep South Carolina’s economy afloat

Cindy Costa
Republican National Committeewoman for South Carolina
The 2012 First in the South Primary: Your big opportunity to pick the 45th American President

Due to the recent scheduling of Congressional Republican Caucus meetings in Washington on December 6 and 7, Mick Mulvaney and Tim Scott will not be able to attend this meeting. Both look forward to joining us as featured speakers during 2011. S.C. Attorney General-Elect Alan Wilson is also unable to join us as originally planned. He too looks forward to joining us at a later date.

Please RSVP to [REDACTED] Space will be limited. Please provide the names and e-mail addresses of any guests you wish to include.

According to our sources in Charleston, this initial “off-the-record, by-invitation-only” launch was attended by over 100 “Masters of the Universe.” And unlike other recent GOP parties in Charleston, nobody arrived in Confederate regalia with slaves in tow (although S.C. Senate President Glenn McConnell was reportedly there).

Still, the party attracted plenty of attention … and future installments of the bash are reportedly eying some even bigger statewide names as well as several potential 2012 presidential candidates.

But not everybody is in …

“The Charleston Meeting” invitation list is apparently so exclusive that neither outgoing SCGOP Chair Karen Floyd, nor outgoing Gov. Mark Sanford – an old friend of Factor’s – received invitations to the launch event, although sources close to Sanford’s office tell FITS he will be attending a future event.

In addition to Factor, event organizers include Andrew Boucher – a former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party – and Michael Smith, a Charleston journalist whose name should be familiar to our readers.

During the fall of 2009, Smith served as a special investigator for S.C. Rep Greg Delleney, producing a report entitled “Regarding the Argentina Leg Governor Mark Sanford Ordered the South Carolina Department of Commerce to Add to South Carolina’s 2008 Trade Mission to Brazil.” This report was entered into the public record during the S.C. House Judiciary Impeachment Subcommittee’s hearings, which focused on determining whether the South Carolina governor’s controversial activities warranted impeachment.

Anyway, we’ll be sure to keep you up to speed on what we hear regarding future gatherings of this group … particularly as they involve prominent state officials and prospective 2012 candidates.