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Illegal Contributions Flowing On SC State House Grounds

S.C. Rep. Alan Clemmons (RINO-Myrtle Beach) has been accused of handing out checks from his political action committee to several of his colleagues in the S.C. House of Representatives. And when we say “in the S.C. House of Representatives,” we mean literally inside the chamber … which is a flagrant…

illegal contributions

S.C. Rep. Alan Clemmons (RINO-Myrtle Beach) has been accused of handing out checks from his political action committee to several of his colleagues in the S.C. House of Representatives.

And when we say “in the S.C. House of Representatives,” we mean literally inside the chamber … which is a flagrant violation of state law.

According to our sources Clemmons started hand-delivering checks from his so-called “Palmetto Patriot Leadership Committee” to several freshmen members of the legislature beginning last December.

In fact one freshman lawmaker – who declined to be identified for this report – told us Clemmons handed him a check for $1,000 inside the chamber during the House’s organizational session last December. This lawmaker also told us S.C. Speaker Bobby Harrell’s notoriously corrupt “Palmetto Leadership Council” gave him a $1,000 campaign contribution on the State House grounds.

A witness to the first transfer confirmed the lawmakers’ account to FITS.

According to state ethics law, both contributions were made illegally.

From the S.C. Code of Laws:

SECTION 8-13-1336. Accepting or soliciting contributions on State Capitol grounds or in official residence prohibited; exception for contributions by mail.

(A) No public official, candidate, public employee, or committee may accept or solicit campaign contributions on the State Capitol grounds, including the office complexes located on them, or in any building which houses the principal office of a statewide officer.

(B) No public official, candidate, public employee, or committee may accept or collect campaign contributions on the grounds of or in any building which houses the official residence of a statewide officer.

(C) Contributions delivered by mail are excluded from the provisions of this section.

Leadership PACs at the S.C. State House have been criticized because top lawmakers use them to purchase loyalty from their subordinates. In fact the elimination of these PACs has been proposed by numerous reformers – most recently S.C. Rep. Beth Bernstein (D-Richland).

Sources tell FITS that the illegal acceptance and solicitation of campaign contributions on S.C. State House grounds is “rampant.”

“If you enforce the letter of this law you’d have to throw out ninety percent of the legislative branch,” one lobbyist told us.

FITS contact the S.C. State Ethics Commission, but its attorney Cathy Hazelwood declined to comment on the specific allegations against Clemmons and Harrell – instead referring us to the statute referenced above.

Also, any allegation involving the disbursement of illegal campaign contributions by a House member would fall under the exclusive purview of the House Ethics Committee, which as we’ve noted on numerous previous occasions exists for the sole purpose of burying/ whitewashing scandals involving current and former legislators.

In other words, count on state legislative leaders to continue violating campaign finance law with impunity … which is par for the course in our corrupt-as-hell state.

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17 comments

Dobber February 5, 2013 at 11:45 am

These politician crooks aren’t stupid enough to leave any paper trails. They deal with CASH only.

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Faith February 5, 2013 at 11:51 am

Can’t we DO anything about these flagrant violations?

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Charlemagne, King of France February 5, 2013 at 12:58 pm

vote with a brain?
tell people around you to vote with a brain?

wait this is SC, no, no theres nothing we can do

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ceilidh10 February 5, 2013 at 11:51 am

The corruption in the State House reminds me of the years prior to the fall of the Democrats. It would not take much to organize another sting like Operation Lost Trust.

Come on, US Attorneys ! Look for Hobbs Act violations, and conspiracy. Set them up for a sting.

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OohPlease February 5, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Oh that would be great, but it will not happen in SC because the non- leader of the state, Haley gets away with it too. A bunch of sorry self-serving jerks.

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Staffer February 5, 2013 at 11:52 am

So its not the fact that the money was given, it is where it was given?

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Staffer February 5, 2013 at 11:54 am

Also, the law talks about accepting or soliciting the contribution. It doesn’t say anything about giving them. So, the person that actually retained the contribution is the one technically in violation, not the contributor.

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Quid Quo Pro 2.0 February 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm

For a legislator, it matters very much where the contribution was given. It matters for both the one giving it and the one accepting it. Inside the Statehouse they are in a fishbowl, always, and if you are a staffer there, you know that. The attitude of imperial imperviousness to prosecution, fed by the seemingly impenetrable hubris of these damned fools, will be their undoing yet. No fed hammer so far, so why worry, right? Hah! It’s the old tactic of giving them enough rope. A non-sting sting. Just sit back and watch them hang themselves. Check all inside sources, FITS, and see if Clemmons didn’t also give out money for votes on the resolution on Israel. Betcha anything he did.

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Quid Quo Pro 2.0 February 5, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Please note that I’m speaking more of the establishment of a general pattern of corruption on the part of certain pols in SC. I’m speaking of what the feds are most likely watching. It all adds up over time. The feds have plenty of time.

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dsmith February 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm

“If you enforce the letter of this law you’d have to throw out ninety percent of the legislative branch,” one lobbyist told us.

And your point is?

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Charlemagne, King of France February 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm

because you cant enforce a law that only apply to lawmakers, duh

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Smirks February 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Toss out 90% of the legislature? So, when do we start?

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Jan February 5, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Full disclosure is part of the answer. We have a right to know who is paying politicians and how much. This is no different from Howie Rich buying legislators by giving them thousands of dollars from various controlled organizations. Who cares where they are when they get the money? Giving someone a check at the State House at noon is no different than taking the check by their hotel room at 3.

Make politicians tell us who is paying them money or supporting them with money. No one gives money to a politician or to support a politician unless they want something in return.

Money corrupts.

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OhNoNotAgain February 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Clemons ran out of “Forever” stamps, that is all. No foul.

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Uncle Willie February 5, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I do not believe Alan Clemmons is corrupt. I believe he is morally bankrupt because he is a true believer and therefore his cause is just so it cannot be wrong.

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Quid Quo Pro 2.0 February 6, 2013 at 7:42 am

That is a fair assessment of the situation.

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Bo know February 6, 2013 at 11:35 am

Clemmons will have bad karma real zoo under the what goes around comes around theory. He is not well liked because he is so fake and nakedly ambitious to the point of secretly working against two of his delegation members opponantsbto try to get his fellow house members defeated so he can move up the food chain in the House.. Do you think he really gives a shit about Israel? It’s just an effort to get Jewish contributions from the wealthy beachwear store owners in Myrtle Beach? Wonder why I 73 goes nowhere, because he can’t lead worth a shit but Brad Dean keeps him in place cause he does whatever the MB Chamber says. maybe that explains why the FZbI has been investigating all of them.

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