SC

Alan Wilson’s Campaign Finances Questioned

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson is under fire for failing to report as many as fifteen contributions to his inaugural ball in 2011. According to The (Columbia, S.C.) Free Times, Wilson “will have to amend some two-year-old campaign finance reports because at least a dozen contributions he should have disclosed…

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson is under fire for failing to report as many as fifteen contributions to his inaugural ball in 2011.

According to The (Columbia, S.C.) Free Times, Wilson “will have to amend some two-year-old campaign finance reports because at least a dozen contributions he should have disclosed were never reported.”

Ruh-roh …

Wilson’s contribution problem came to light after he returned $7,000 in contributions tied to embattled S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell (RINO-Charleston) – including a $3,500 check from Harrell’s campaign to Wilson’s inaugural party.

Last week Wilson referred an ethics case involving Harrell to the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to determine if any criminal wrongdoing took place on a broad range of charges – including several campaign finance-related allegations. Meanwhile a year ago his office helped take down S.C. Lt. Gov. Ken Ard (RINO-Florence) for his role in a campaign finance scheme which was originally exposed by this website.

Naturally, then, any campaign finance-related problems in Wilson’s own back yard are cause for serious concern.

This website was no friend to Wilson during his 2010 campaign. In fact he was probably our last choice for the Attorney General’s office. However it’s hard to argue with his performance so far. He’s run his office like a Boy Scout, and based on what we’ve seen we take him at his word when he says these omissions were honest mistakes. Also, it’s worth noting the only reason we know about these problem at all is the fact Wilson stepped forward on the Harrell donations.

So there’s that …

We’re not saying Wilson should avoid accountability for his errors. However this issue is resolved, he likely has some well-deserved ethics fines coming his way, and his campaign clearly needs to get a better handle on its finances moving forward.

More importantly, South Carolina needs to do away with inaugural balls and committees altogether. These events are nothing but breeding grounds for corruption and favor-trading. In fact we’d urge lawmakers to incorporate their elimination into this year’s various ethics reform proposals – although we suspect that’s about as likely to happen as meaningful ethics reform.

***

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45 comments

9" February 23, 2013 at 1:47 am

where he daddy/ wit da turquoise eyes and multicolored chest hair?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LfezWs3rP0

Reply
9" February 23, 2013 at 12:47 am

where he daddy/ wit da turquoise eyes and multicolored chest hair?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LfezWs3rP0

Reply
pleasure February 23, 2013 at 9:06 am

wilson spends most of his time raising money and marketing outside deals . he has many of “missing” donation. I will be pointing them out about once a month from now on. wilson and car dealers are an interesting story. more to come.

Reply
CorruptionInColumbia February 23, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Please do! The truth about this crud needs to come out.

Reply
pleasure February 23, 2013 at 8:06 am

wilson spends most of his time raising money and marketing outside deals . he has many of “missing” donation. I will be pointing them out about once a month from now on. wilson and car dealers are an interesting story. more to come.

Reply
CorruptionInColumbia February 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Please do! The truth about this crud needs to come out.

Reply
Philip Branton February 23, 2013 at 9:42 am

LOL……..well you gotta love the flashbacks this gives us all.. Heck, any classic scene from the THREE STOOGES would sum up what is going on here..!!!

A classic media mis-direction..!~! Instead of concentrating on doing our states business and being accountable and transparent—–these fools slap each other with paper gloves..!!

All any concerned political strategist has to do is start smokin’ OUT the corporations and citizens WHO are the ones doing the check writing..!!

Its amazing what happens when UNION ghosts start wiring up BATTERIES that keep a campaign charged up..!!

We wonder just how many REAL Estate “fluffers” are making some phone calls..!!?

Reply
Philip Branton February 23, 2013 at 8:42 am

LOL……..well you gotta love the flashbacks this gives us all.. Heck, any classic scene from the THREE STOOGES would sum up what is going on here..!!!

A classic media mis-direction..!~! Instead of concentrating on doing our states business and being accountable and transparent—–these fools slap each other with paper gloves..!!

All any concerned political strategist has to do is start smokin’ OUT the corporations and citizens WHO are the ones doing the check writing..!!

Its amazing what happens when UNION ghosts start wiring up BATTERIES that keep a campaign charged up..!!

We wonder just how many REAL Estate “fluffers” are making some phone calls..!!?

Reply
This anit good February 23, 2013 at 9:48 am

You can’t polish a turd but so far. Missing donations, vague expenditures, no personal responsibility (just throwing aides under the bus). This AP story is damning.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s top prosecutor is under
scrutiny for not reporting at least 10 donations on campaign filings following his 2010 election win.

A campaign consultant for Attorney General Alan Wilson said
Friday that an estimated 10 to 15 contributions toward Wilson’s January
2011 inaugural ball were mistakenly not reported. Wilson’s campaign
reports will be amended as soon as next week, Adam Fogle said.

“It was a clerical error — a simple mistake,” Fogle said. “Nothing is missing.”

The first-term Republican attorney general funded the
gala through his campaign, rather than creating a separate account, as
is frequently done for such events. Beyond offering a clear separation,
doing so allows donations above the $3,500-per-campaign-cycle limit for
statewide candidates — and doesn’t require disclosure.

Fogle said the campaign chose to handle the black-tie gala as any other fundraiser.

“It was never intended to be anything other than a campaign event,” he said.

While the campaign sought sponsorship levels of
$5,000 and $10,000, Fogle said no donor topped the $3,500 allowed. The
recognized top donors — 10 platinum-level and four gold-level — agreed
to raise the money from others, he said.

It’s unclear precisely how much was spent on the gala.

Fogle said the budget was about $25,000, but for the
exact cost, he pointed to online expense records. In Wilson’s
first-quarter 2011 filing, expenses with “inaugural” in the explanation
tally $21,134. But those with a more vague “event” in the description
tally an additional $11,786. None specify “gala” or similar wording.

The unreported donations were discovered after
Wilson, responding to a report in the Free Times, said he would return
money to House Speaker Bobby Harrell. However, while Harrell’s online
filings listed the donation, Wilson’s did not.

Harrell’s expense report identified $3,500 as a
Wilson gala sponsorship given Jan. 6, 2011. But its deposit into
Wilson’s campaign likely made it an illegal donation because state law
bars campaign-to-campaign donations.

“The attorney general asked the speaker to be a
sponsor of the inaugural gala, and the speaker followed through,” said
Harrell spokesman Greg Foster.

Wilson also this week returned $3,500 donated in October 2010 from a political action committee affiliated with Harrell.

The decision to return $7,000 came days after Wilson
forwarded an ethics complaint against Harrell to the State Law
Enforcement Division for investigation. Harrell has denied wrongdoing.

The state Ethics Commission is awaiting Wilson’s amended report.

Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian said that, at a minimum, the commission needs to look into it.

“It’s troubling that the chief enforcer of the
campaign finance ethics laws … now has these questionable and
troubling issues rising about him,” he said. “I find it astounding that
the attorney general of the state of South Carolina wouldn’t know how to
report contributions.”

“If the attorney general can’t comply, how can he expect anybody else to?” Harpootlian added.

John Crangle of Common Cause, which has asked Harrell
to step down while SLED investigates, said in Wilson’s case, he
suspects incompetence by campaign staff.

“I don’t think Wilson did this intentionally,” he said, but added, “He’s got a mess on his hands.”

At the very least, Crangle said, “it shows the cancer of big money politics in South Carolina.”

Crangle is among those pushing for ethics reform.

Last March, former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resigned and
pleaded guilty to seven misdemeanor counts of violating state ethics
laws in a 2010 campaign scheme that inflated his support. Wilson’s
office prosecuted that case. Wilson said then that Ard gave $75,000 of
his own money to people who then gave it back to him as individual
contributions, then tried to unlawfully reimburse himself by buying
personal items such as a flat-screen TV with money from his campaign
account.

Also last year, the House Ethics Committee twice
voted to clear Haley of allegations that she lobbied for two former
employers while a House member and did not disclose a consulting job on
financial forms. Haley repeatedly said — and the committee agreed — that
nothing in state law required her to report her job with an engineering
firm and that it was impossible for her actions to be considered
lobbying under the law’s definition.

Reply
This anit good February 23, 2013 at 8:48 am

You can’t polish a turd but so far. Missing donations, vague expenditures, no personal responsibility (just throwing aides under the bus). This AP story is damning.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s top prosecutor is under
scrutiny for not reporting at least 10 donations on campaign filings following his 2010 election win.

A campaign consultant for Attorney General Alan Wilson said
Friday that an estimated 10 to 15 contributions toward Wilson’s January
2011 inaugural ball were mistakenly not reported. Wilson’s campaign
reports will be amended as soon as next week, Adam Fogle said.

“It was a clerical error — a simple mistake,” Fogle said. “Nothing is missing.”

The first-term Republican attorney general funded the
gala through his campaign, rather than creating a separate account, as
is frequently done for such events. Beyond offering a clear separation,
doing so allows donations above the $3,500-per-campaign-cycle limit for
statewide candidates — and doesn’t require disclosure.

Fogle said the campaign chose to handle the black-tie gala as any other fundraiser.

“It was never intended to be anything other than a campaign event,” he said.

While the campaign sought sponsorship levels of
$5,000 and $10,000, Fogle said no donor topped the $3,500 allowed. The
recognized top donors — 10 platinum-level and four gold-level — agreed
to raise the money from others, he said.

It’s unclear precisely how much was spent on the gala.

Fogle said the budget was about $25,000, but for the
exact cost, he pointed to online expense records. In Wilson’s
first-quarter 2011 filing, expenses with “inaugural” in the explanation
tally $21,134. But those with a more vague “event” in the description
tally an additional $11,786. None specify “gala” or similar wording.

The unreported donations were discovered after
Wilson, responding to a report in the Free Times, said he would return
money to House Speaker Bobby Harrell. However, while Harrell’s online
filings listed the donation, Wilson’s did not.

Harrell’s expense report identified $3,500 as a
Wilson gala sponsorship given Jan. 6, 2011. But its deposit into
Wilson’s campaign likely made it an illegal donation because state law
bars campaign-to-campaign donations.

“The attorney general asked the speaker to be a
sponsor of the inaugural gala, and the speaker followed through,” said
Harrell spokesman Greg Foster.

Wilson also this week returned $3,500 donated in October 2010 from a political action committee affiliated with Harrell.

The decision to return $7,000 came days after Wilson
forwarded an ethics complaint against Harrell to the State Law
Enforcement Division for investigation. Harrell has denied wrongdoing.

The state Ethics Commission is awaiting Wilson’s amended report.

Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian said that, at a minimum, the commission needs to look into it.

“It’s troubling that the chief enforcer of the
campaign finance ethics laws … now has these questionable and
troubling issues rising about him,” he said. “I find it astounding that
the attorney general of the state of South Carolina wouldn’t know how to
report contributions.”

“If the attorney general can’t comply, how can he expect anybody else to?” Harpootlian added.

John Crangle of Common Cause, which has asked Harrell
to step down while SLED investigates, said in Wilson’s case, he
suspects incompetence by campaign staff.

“I don’t think Wilson did this intentionally,” he said, but added, “He’s got a mess on his hands.”

At the very least, Crangle said, “it shows the cancer of big money politics in South Carolina.”

Crangle is among those pushing for ethics reform.

Last March, former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resigned and
pleaded guilty to seven misdemeanor counts of violating state ethics
laws in a 2010 campaign scheme that inflated his support. Wilson’s
office prosecuted that case. Wilson said then that Ard gave $75,000 of
his own money to people who then gave it back to him as individual
contributions, then tried to unlawfully reimburse himself by buying
personal items such as a flat-screen TV with money from his campaign
account.

Also last year, the House Ethics Committee twice
voted to clear Haley of allegations that she lobbied for two former
employers while a House member and did not disclose a consulting job on
financial forms. Haley repeatedly said — and the committee agreed — that
nothing in state law required her to report her job with an engineering
firm and that it was impossible for her actions to be considered
lobbying under the law’s definition.

Reply
Captian America February 23, 2013 at 9:55 am

Wilson was my last choice also. He has dined at the public (taxpayer) traugh all of his life under Joe and Roxanne.
Just like Joe and Roxanne’s Wilsons 10-12 annual Birthday fundraisers. They are all slugs! Roxanne is especially noxious.
Hopefully Roxanne’s bragging about all of the Congressional travel and having sex in so many countries (at taxpayer expense) is coming to an end soon!
Wake up South Carolina!

Reply
CorruptionInColumbia February 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm

You called it Captain! I had voted for his daddy in the past on quite a few occasions. The day Alan ran for office, they both lost my vote. I am so happy that Roxanne’s sister, Suzanne Moore, lost her bid for Clerk of Court in Lexington County. Too bad Beth Carrig (sp?) went back for another term though. Suzanne’s loss is traceable to Joe’s asshole buddy, Jake.

I hope 2014 will see Alan returning to life as a private citizen.

Reply
anonymous October 4, 2013 at 11:24 pm

FORECLOSURE FRAUD

SOUTH CAROLINA COURT HOLDS THAT FORECLOSURE LAW OF U.S. SUPREME COURT TRUMPS EVERYTHING: FORECLOSING PARTY MUST OWN BOTH THE NOTE AND THE MORTGAGE TO FORECLOSE

SEPTEMBER 20, 2013

In a stunning ruling from the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Common Pleas of Charleston, South Carolina, a Judge has issued a detailed, 4-page written opinion dismissing a foreclosure action filed by Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as the claimed trustee of an IndyMac securitization, holding that DB failed to show that it was the owner and holder of the original Note and Mortgage at the time the Complaint was filed. FDN South Carolina network counsel Bill Sloan, Esq. represents the homeowner and prepared and argued the homeowner’s Motion to Dismiss.

Counsel for DB made the familiar argument that it had possession of the original Note endorsed in blank, that the Note was a negotiable instrument under the UCC, that the Mortgage follows the Note, and that thus DB had established its right to foreclose. The Court disagreed, citing precedent from the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Carpenter v. Longan, 83 U.S. 271, 16 Wall. 271, 21 L.Ed. 313 (1872) which the Court found “clearly supports the notion that the Plaintiff must own the Note and the Mortgage to foreclose on the property (emphasis in the opinion).” The Court determined that “Plaintiff failed to show that it owned the Mortgage at the time the Complaint was filed”, and also noted that the Mortgage shows MERS to be the mortgagee but that “MERS is never mentioned in the Note.”

The Court stated: “It is clear that to have standing in this foreclosure case, Plaintiff must not only be the holder and owner of the original Note, but also the Mortgage as well. Plaintiff’s Complaint in this case fails to meet this criteria. Plaintiff lacks standing to initiate and prosecute the foreclosure, and dismissal pursuant to Rule 17(a) and Rule 12(b)(6) SCRCP is appropriate.”

This ruling is based on foreclosure law from the United States Supreme Court, which trumps any contrary state law which does not require the foreclosing Plaintiff to own both the Note and the Mortgage at the time that the foreclosure Complaint is filed. This ruling demonstrates the essential fallacy in the “UCC, I have the Note, mortgage follows the Note” theory espoused by every attorney for the banks and servicers. What remains to be seen is whether the judiciary handling foreclosure cases will follow the law of the U.S. Supreme Court or not.

A copy of the Order is available upon e-mail request.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., http://www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

Reply
Captian America February 23, 2013 at 8:55 am

Wilson was my last choice also. He has dined at the public (taxpayer) traugh all of his life under Joe and Roxanne.
Just like Joe and Roxanne’s Wilsons 10-12 annual Birthday fundraisers. They are all slugs! Roxanne is especially noxious.
Hopefully Roxanne’s bragging about all of the Congressional travel and having sex in so many countries (at taxpayer expense) is coming to an end soon!
Wake up South Carolina!

Reply
CorruptionInColumbia February 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm

You called it Captain! I had voted for his daddy in the past on quite a few occasions. The day Alan ran for office, they both lost my vote. I am so happy that Roxanne’s sister, Suzanne Moore, lost her bid for Clerk of Court in Lexington County. Too bad Beth Carrig (sp?) went back for another term though. Suzanne’s loss is traceable to Joe’s asshole buddy, Jake.

I hope 2014 will see Alan returning to life as a private citizen.

Reply
Moman50 February 23, 2013 at 12:24 pm

The voters of South Carolina deserve this clown,mindlessly voting for anyone with an “R” after their name.Instead of “investigating ” others,someone should be investigating him!

Reply
Moman50 February 23, 2013 at 11:24 am

The voters of South Carolina deserve this clown,mindlessly voting for anyone with an “R” after their name.Instead of “investigating ” others,someone should be investigating him!

Reply
anonymous February 23, 2013 at 1:12 pm

DO THE MATH

10 TEN PLATINUM DONORS TIMES $10,000 EQUALS $100,000.00

4 FOUR GOLD DONORS TIMES $5,000.00 EQUALS $ 20,000.00

2 TIMES $3,500.00 Harrell cash EQUALS $7,000.00

For a grand total of $127,000.00

uh uh uh …. did we get it all scooter?

uh uh uh just tell em’ that the “Platinum” and “Gold” folks got the money from someone else….

ha ha hahahahahahahhahahahaha!!!!!

“While the campaign sought sponsorship levels of

$5,000 and $10,000, Fogle said no donor topped the $3,500 allowed. The
recognized top donors — 10 platinum-level and four gold-level — agreed
to raise the money from others”, he said.

Reply
anonymous February 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm

If the ten platinum and four gold donors did not fund in excess of $3,500.00 limit and the rest of the money was contributed by others, then those others ARE ANONYMOUS contributions.

ANONYMOUS DONORS ARE ILLEGAL.

The excess on a Platinum donor would be $6,500 per donor TIMES (10) TEN EQUALS $65,000.00 anonymous contribution.

The excess on a Gold donor is $1,500 TIMES (5) FIVE EQUALS $7,500 anonymous contribution.

A total of $72,500.00 of potentially illegal ANONYMOUS contributions

Reply
anonymous March 25, 2013 at 12:15 pm

ALAN WILSON’S CAMPAIGN FINANCES MELTDOWN – CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN THAD WESTBROOK CAN’T KEEP HIS STORIES STRAIGHT

Alan Wilson’s campaign left $134,000 off previous filings.

COLUMBIA, S.C. South Carolina’s top prosecutor amended his campaign filings Friday to account for $134,000 in donations and expenses previously unreported on disclosures surrounding his 2010 election win.

Attorney General Alan Wilson’s campaign chairman Thad Westbrook says NOW 68 donations and 16 payments NOT REPORTED

The 59 checks and nine online donations that came in after Wilson won the office totaled $66,890, The payments totaled $66,797

Thad Westbrook initially estimated that 10 to 15 donations were mistakenly unreported. That number represented other sponsors for Alan Wilson’s inaugural gala that were unaccounted for in his online filings.

But an independent accountant Alan Wilson’s campaign hired to review his account found many more deposits, checks, and expenses not reported.

Reply
anonymous March 25, 2013 at 1:24 pm

WHERE’S THE REST OF THE MONEY?

10 TEN PLATINUM DONORS TIMES $10,000 EQUALS $100,000.00

4 FOUR GOLD DONORS TIMES $5,000.00 EQUALS $ 20,000.00

2 TIMES $3,500.00 Harrell cash EQUALS $7,000.00

For a grand total of $127,000.00
The campaign NOW reports $66, 890 in contributions previously unreported.
127, 000 – 66, 890 = $60,110.
Where is the other $60,110 ?
You guessed it!

Reply
anonymous February 23, 2013 at 12:12 pm

DO THE MATH

10 TEN PLATINUM DONORS TIMES $10,000 EQUALS $100,000.00

4 FOUR GOLD DONORS TIMES $5,000.00 EQUALS $ 20,000.00

2 TIMES $3,500.00 Harrell cash EQUALS $7,000.00

For a grand total of $127,000.00

uh uh uh …. did we get it all scooter?

uh uh uh just tell em’ that the “Platinum” and “Gold” folks got the money from someone else….

ha ha hahahahahahahhahahahaha!!!!!

“While the campaign sought sponsorship levels of

$5,000 and $10,000, Fogle said no donor topped the $3,500 allowed. The
recognized top donors — 10 platinum-level and four gold-level — agreed
to raise the money from others”, he said.

Reply
anonymous February 23, 2013 at 5:23 pm

If the ten platinum and four gold donors did not fund in excess of $3,500.00 limit and the rest of the money was contributed by others, then those others ARE ANONYMOUS contributions.

ANONYMOUS DONORS ARE ILLEGAL.

The excess on a Platinum donor would be $6,500 per donor TIMES (10) TEN EQUALS $65,000.00 anonymous contribution.

The excess on a Gold donor is $1,500 TIMES (5) FIVE EQUALS $7,500 anonymous contribution.

A total of $72,500.00 of potentially illegal ANONYMOUS contributions

Reply
anonymous March 25, 2013 at 12:15 pm

ALAN WILSON’S CAMPAIGN FINANCES MELTDOWN – CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN THAD WESTBROOK CAN’T KEEP HIS STORIES STRAIGHT

Alan Wilson’s campaign left $134,000 off previous filings.

COLUMBIA, S.C. South Carolina’s top prosecutor amended his campaign filings Friday to account for $134,000 in donations and expenses previously unreported on disclosures surrounding his 2010 election win.

Attorney General Alan Wilson’s campaign chairman Thad Westbrook says NOW 68 donations and 16 payments NOT REPORTED

The 59 checks and nine online donations that came in after Wilson won the office totaled $66,890, The payments totaled $66,797

Thad Westbrook initially estimated that 10 to 15 donations were mistakenly unreported. That number represented other sponsors for Alan Wilson’s inaugural gala that were unaccounted for in his online filings.

But an independent accountant Alan Wilson’s campaign hired to review his account found many more deposits, checks, and expenses not reported.

Reply
anonymous March 25, 2013 at 1:24 pm

WHERE’S THE REST OF THE MONEY?

10 TEN PLATINUM DONORS TIMES $10,000 EQUALS $100,000.00

4 FOUR GOLD DONORS TIMES $5,000.00 EQUALS $ 20,000.00

2 TIMES $3,500.00 Harrell cash EQUALS $7,000.00

For a grand total of $127,000.00
The campaign NOW reports $66, 890 in contributions previously unreported.
127, 000 – 66, 890 = $60,110.
Where is the other $60,110 ?
You guessed it!

Reply
Jennifer Levine February 23, 2013 at 1:37 pm

“The only reason we know about these problem [sic] at all is that Wilson stepped forward on the Harrell donations.”
Please. He didn’t step forward. The Free Times reported the $3500 contribution to the inaugural gala and how it created the appearance of a conflict of interest. Wilson didn’t “step forward.” He had to return the money after that report surfaced.

Reply
pissed off February 23, 2013 at 2:32 pm

wrong. press new about them. wilson just got ahead of the story. free times beieves there are many more donations and they are combing the intenet looking for photos, guest list, etc.
wilson was busted but in SC who gives a damn.

Reply
Jennifer Levine February 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm

“The only reason we know about these problem [sic] at all is that Wilson stepped forward on the Harrell donations.”
Please. He didn’t step forward. The Free Times reported the $3500 contribution to the inaugural gala and how it created the appearance of a conflict of interest. Wilson didn’t “step forward.” He had to return the money after that report surfaced.

Reply
pissed off February 23, 2013 at 1:32 pm

wrong. press new about them. wilson just got ahead of the story. free times beieves there are many more donations and they are combing the intenet looking for photos, guest list, etc.
wilson was busted but in SC who gives a damn.

Reply
anonymous February 23, 2013 at 1:42 pm

By fitsnews – January 2, 2011

“FIRM’S PROXIMITY TO NEW AG QUESTIONED”

If there’s one government office that most people expect to be free from shady political deal-making, it’s the Attorney General’s office. This is where people go for justice … not political favors, and there’s an expectation that the business done there is being done above boards.

Or “transparently,” if you will.

Unfortunately, South Carolina’s incoming Attorney General – Republican Alan Wilson – is already facing “proximity” questions after hiring a partner at one of the state’s largest, most politically-connected law firms to head up his transition team.

Needless to say, Wilson is no stranger to controversy. He’s the Republican candidate who received a $250,000 loan from the First Community Bank of Lexington, S.C. – an institution which received $11.3 million in federal bailout money. Obviously, those funds were available to the bank in part thanks to a pro-bailout vote from Wilson’s father, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson. Adding another layer of intrigue to this already-questionable arrangement was the fact that the bank’s Chairman – Mitchell M. Willoughby – was (and is) a founding partner at the law firmwhere Wilson used to work.

Typical Palmetto state politics, right? Everybody’s scratching everybody else’s back …

Anyway, Wilson won the GOP primary in spite of this scandal – and in spite of the fact that he was by far the least experienced of the Republican candidates. He then rode the Republican wave to victory in the fall over a more qualified Democratic candidate.

Now, for reasons surpassing understanding, Wilson has appointed Thad Westbrook – a campaign contributor and attorney with Nelson Mullins law firm – to lead his transition team.

Frankly, we’ve never understood why tax dollars are wasted on “transitions,” just as we’ve never understood why ethics laws permitted contributions to “inaugural” festivities (such as the black tie gala that Wilson is holding in downtown Columbia on January 11).

Really … is it too much to ask for public officials to simply take their oaths and do their damn jobs without opening up the favor-trading floodgates? And when do campaign contributions, donations to inaugural galas and the doling out of plum political appointments cross the line from innocent coincidences into nefarious, for-profit schemes?

Wilson’s appointment of Westbrook may well provide us with the distinction …

Like other big law firms in the Palmetto state, Nelson Mullins has plenty of business before the S.C. Attorney General’s office. Additionally, the firm’s lawyers have consulted on larger civil cases and are always in the mix whenever the AG’s office needs to hire “outside counsel” with our tax dollars. Not only that, Nelson Mullins attorneys help try cases on behalf of the AG’s office – work that the firm then gets to write off as pro bono consultation.

So … how much money did Alan Wilson raise from Nelson Mullins?

Well, we know that Westbrook himself gave Wilson $5,000 during his most recent campaign, and we know that Nelson Mullins PAC gave him another $5,500. But how many other Nelson Mullins attorneys have contributed to Wilson? And what is the firm expecting in return for all those contributions? More specifically, does Westbrook have any pending cases before Wilson’s office? And if so, what is he expecting?

Look … we’re sure Westbrook is a nice guy. In fact, we know he is … our founding editor has hung out with him on several occasions. We also know Wilson is a nice guy … even though we haven’t been particularly complimentary of his prior experience (in large part because he doesn’t have any).

The two are also childhood friends.

But nice guys … just like not-so-nice guys (and gals) … are human. That means they’re corruptible. And if they’re not corruptible, that means they can be blinded or manipulated into believing that certain corrupt arrangements are okay.

In any public office, decisions must be made in keeping with the best interests of the taxpayers. In the case of the Attorney General’s office, they must also be made in keeping with the interests of justice.

That means facts must dictate decisions, not well-heeled law firms with politicians in their pockets …

In keeping with this overarching responsibility, shouldn’t there be an ethical obligation on the incoming Attorney General to refrain from putting people on his transition team who have a vested interest in the office? In fact, shouldn’t that obligation extend to the governor’s office and the transition teams of every other statewide official?

Better yet … why don’t we just do away with all of this transition nonsense completely?

Whatever your thoughts are on that question, it’s safe to say that Nelson Mullins’ proximity to Wilson’s office is something we’ll be examining more closely in the days and weeks to come

https://www.fitsnews.com/2011/01/02/firms-proximity-to-new-ag-questioned/

Reply
pal February 23, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Nelson Mullins now owns this state. Haley, David Wilkins, Alan Wilson, and Company are the ultimate good ole boys. Nelson Mullins does most of the State’s litigation (when it is high profile or well paying), and they have placed employees in high places (like lawyer Betsy Burns now at the Investment Commission) and close friends on PEBA Board, etc. They are anywhere big money is so they will always get the cream off the top.
I hear they are very involved with the Bobby Harrell thing cause he will not help them on a huge issue and that when he does it all goes away.

Reply
anonymous February 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm

By fitsnews – January 2, 2011

“FIRM’S PROXIMITY TO NEW AG QUESTIONED”

If there’s one government office that most people expect to be free from shady political deal-making, it’s the Attorney General’s office. This is where people go for justice … not political favors, and there’s an expectation that the business done there is being done above boards.

Or “transparently,” if you will.

Unfortunately, South Carolina’s incoming Attorney General – Republican Alan Wilson – is already facing “proximity” questions after hiring a partner at one of the state’s largest, most politically-connected law firms to head up his transition team.

Needless to say, Wilson is no stranger to controversy. He’s the Republican candidate who received a $250,000 loan from the First Community Bank of Lexington, S.C. – an institution which received $11.3 million in federal bailout money. Obviously, those funds were available to the bank in part thanks to a pro-bailout vote from Wilson’s father, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson. Adding another layer of intrigue to this already-questionable arrangement was the fact that the bank’s Chairman – Mitchell M. Willoughby – was (and is) a founding partner at the law firmwhere Wilson used to work.

Typical Palmetto state politics, right? Everybody’s scratching everybody else’s back …

Anyway, Wilson won the GOP primary in spite of this scandal – and in spite of the fact that he was by far the least experienced of the Republican candidates. He then rode the Republican wave to victory in the fall over a more qualified Democratic candidate.

Now, for reasons surpassing understanding, Wilson has appointed Thad Westbrook – a campaign contributor and attorney with Nelson Mullins law firm – to lead his transition team.

Frankly, we’ve never understood why tax dollars are wasted on “transitions,” just as we’ve never understood why ethics laws permitted contributions to “inaugural” festivities (such as the black tie gala that Wilson is holding in downtown Columbia on January 11).

Really … is it too much to ask for public officials to simply take their oaths and do their damn jobs without opening up the favor-trading floodgates? And when do campaign contributions, donations to inaugural galas and the doling out of plum political appointments cross the line from innocent coincidences into nefarious, for-profit schemes?

Wilson’s appointment of Westbrook may well provide us with the distinction …

Like other big law firms in the Palmetto state, Nelson Mullins has plenty of business before the S.C. Attorney General’s office. Additionally, the firm’s lawyers have consulted on larger civil cases and are always in the mix whenever the AG’s office needs to hire “outside counsel” with our tax dollars. Not only that, Nelson Mullins attorneys help try cases on behalf of the AG’s office – work that the firm then gets to write off as pro bono consultation.

So … how much money did Alan Wilson raise from Nelson Mullins?

Well, we know that Westbrook himself gave Wilson $5,000 during his most recent campaign, and we know that Nelson Mullins PAC gave him another $5,500. But how many other Nelson Mullins attorneys have contributed to Wilson? And what is the firm expecting in return for all those contributions? More specifically, does Westbrook have any pending cases before Wilson’s office? And if so, what is he expecting?

Look … we’re sure Westbrook is a nice guy. In fact, we know he is … our founding editor has hung out with him on several occasions. We also know Wilson is a nice guy … even though we haven’t been particularly complimentary of his prior experience (in large part because he doesn’t have any).

The two are also childhood friends.

But nice guys … just like not-so-nice guys (and gals) … are human. That means they’re corruptible. And if they’re not corruptible, that means they can be blinded or manipulated into believing that certain corrupt arrangements are okay.

In any public office, decisions must be made in keeping with the best interests of the taxpayers. In the case of the Attorney General’s office, they must also be made in keeping with the interests of justice.

That means facts must dictate decisions, not well-heeled law firms with politicians in their pockets …

In keeping with this overarching responsibility, shouldn’t there be an ethical obligation on the incoming Attorney General to refrain from putting people on his transition team who have a vested interest in the office? In fact, shouldn’t that obligation extend to the governor’s office and the transition teams of every other statewide official?

Better yet … why don’t we just do away with all of this transition nonsense completely?

Whatever your thoughts are on that question, it’s safe to say that Nelson Mullins’ proximity to Wilson’s office is something we’ll be examining more closely in the days and weeks to come

https://www.fitsnews.com/2011/01/02/firms-proximity-to-new-ag-questioned/

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pal February 23, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Nelson Mullins now owns this state. Haley, David Wilkins, Alan Wilson, and Company are the ultimate good ole boys. Nelson Mullins does most of the State’s litigation (when it is high profile or well paying), and they have placed employees in high places (like lawyer Betsy Burns now at the Investment Commission) and close friends on PEBA Board, etc. They are anywhere big money is so they will always get the cream off the top.
I hear they are very involved with the Bobby Harrell thing cause he will not help them on a huge issue and that when he does it all goes away.

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anonymous February 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm

“TRANSITION TRANSPARENCY”
by fitsnews

“Specifically, we’re talking about the cozy cabal of special interests that surround David Wilkins – the former S.C. Speaker of the House, U.S. Ambassador and current Nelson Mullins attorney who is heading up Haley’s transition organization.”

“Look, we’re not necessarily saying that Wilkins is corrupt, mind you … but the potential clearly exists for him to use his influence over Haley in a manner that will benefit his law firm down the road”

“Earlier this week, we wrote about the questionable transition proximity of another Nelson Mullins attorney, Thad Westbrook, who is currently heading up GOP Attorney General-elect Alan Wilson’s transition team.”

“Again, we’re not saying either Wilson or Westbrook is corrupt … but the potential is there for favor-trading regarding cases that Nelson Mullins may have before the Attorney General’s office.”

“Politicians who win races should simply take their oaths on the prescribed date and then go about their business … simple as that. They should not use the three month window between winning an office and assuming that office to shake down a bunch of lobbyist principals in exchange for the right to sit on (self-) important committees or attend glitzy balls”

“This whole process invites corruption …”

“Accordingly, we believe that in addition to scrapping these inaugural balls and galas altogether that there ought to be an additional layer of transparency as it relates to these “transition” organizations. Specifically, we believe that any entity whose employees serve on a transition organization should be required to disclose any business that the entity or employee has with the state of South Carolina. Period. End of story.”

“Obviously, law firms like Nelson Mullins are already required to disclose their lobbying activity on behalf of clients … but that’s just one small corner of the favor factory.”

“We’re talking about pending cases before state courts, gubernatorial appointments to boards and commissions, contracts with state agencies (often no-bid contracts), tax write-offs for economic development deals … all big money decisions.”

“Put another way – where do law firms like Nelson Mullins make (or lose) money based on actions taken by the state? And how does the proximity they are obtaining via these “transition” posts enable them to unduly influence those decisions?”

“Our point is simple: If we’re going to trust these people to set up the administrations of a pair of statewide officeholders, then we have a right to know about every dime they’ve every made – or plan to make – off of state government.”

https://www.fitsnews.com/2011/01/05/transition-transparency/

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anonymous February 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm

“TRANSITION TRANSPARENCY”
by fitsnews

“Specifically, we’re talking about the cozy cabal of special interests that surround David Wilkins – the former S.C. Speaker of the House, U.S. Ambassador and current Nelson Mullins attorney who is heading up Haley’s transition organization.”

“Look, we’re not necessarily saying that Wilkins is corrupt, mind you … but the potential clearly exists for him to use his influence over Haley in a manner that will benefit his law firm down the road”

“Earlier this week, we wrote about the questionable transition proximity of another Nelson Mullins attorney, Thad Westbrook, who is currently heading up GOP Attorney General-elect Alan Wilson’s transition team.”

“Again, we’re not saying either Wilson or Westbrook is corrupt … but the potential is there for favor-trading regarding cases that Nelson Mullins may have before the Attorney General’s office.”

“Politicians who win races should simply take their oaths on the prescribed date and then go about their business … simple as that. They should not use the three month window between winning an office and assuming that office to shake down a bunch of lobbyist principals in exchange for the right to sit on (self-) important committees or attend glitzy balls”

“This whole process invites corruption …”

“Accordingly, we believe that in addition to scrapping these inaugural balls and galas altogether that there ought to be an additional layer of transparency as it relates to these “transition” organizations. Specifically, we believe that any entity whose employees serve on a transition organization should be required to disclose any business that the entity or employee has with the state of South Carolina. Period. End of story.”

“Obviously, law firms like Nelson Mullins are already required to disclose their lobbying activity on behalf of clients … but that’s just one small corner of the favor factory.”

“We’re talking about pending cases before state courts, gubernatorial appointments to boards and commissions, contracts with state agencies (often no-bid contracts), tax write-offs for economic development deals … all big money decisions.”

“Put another way – where do law firms like Nelson Mullins make (or lose) money based on actions taken by the state? And how does the proximity they are obtaining via these “transition” posts enable them to unduly influence those decisions?”

“Our point is simple: If we’re going to trust these people to set up the administrations of a pair of statewide officeholders, then we have a right to know about every dime they’ve every made – or plan to make – off of state government.”

https://www.fitsnews.com/2011/01/05/transition-transparency/

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Patriot1776 February 23, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Another psychopath caught in his own web of deception and lies. Can’t believe anything he nor Harrell says. Both are fighting to avoid prison now.
Only federal investigators from outside the state of South Carolin can clean up this cesspool of corruption.

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Patriot1776 February 23, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Another psychopath caught in his own web of deception and lies. Can’t believe anything he nor Harrell says. Both are fighting to avoid prison now.
Only federal investigators from outside the state of South Carolin can clean up this cesspool of corruption.

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Patriot1776 February 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Bobby Harrell must be destroyed. He lies, he cheats, and he steals – from YOU!

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Patriot1776 February 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Bobby Harrell must be destroyed. He lies, he cheats, and he steals – from YOU!

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shifty henry February 23, 2013 at 11:44 pm

I just can’t ignore this anymore — who is the woman on the left with the cockroach on her head? Who is the guy staring into space on the right who looks like Blago, Jr?

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shifty henry February 23, 2013 at 10:44 pm

I just can’t ignore this anymore — who is the woman on the left with the cockroach on her head? Who is the guy staring into space on the right who looks like Blago, Jr?

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anonymous February 24, 2013 at 7:59 am

Alan Wilson had his own Ard-style “fictitious campaign”

Attorney General Alan Wilson at former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard’s court hearing

It took Attorney General Alan Wilson nearly eight months to indict former Lieutenant Governor Ken Ard for running a cash-for-contributions scheme during the disgraced Republican’s 2010 campaign. But when Wilson finally did bring criminal charges against South Carolina’s number two elected official, the attorney general came on like Gang Busters in a quick, coordinated attempt to get the fallout from Ard’s misuse of campaign funds over and done with.

State prosecutors showed how Ard illegally paid friends and family to donate to his campaign in order to pump up his fundraising numbers. Wilson said Ard’s “fictitious campaign” was designed “to create the false appearance of a groundswell of political support” by making it look like Ard had received much more in campaign donations than he actually did. Politics is about perception, as the saying goes, and Ard’s scheme gave voters a false perception that he was raising more money than he was.

“Campaign transparency was in reality campaign deceit,” Wilson melodramatically told reporters, adding that he hoped the Ard case would serve as an example to public officials trying to exploit or break campaign finance laws in order to boost their perceived support.

Naturally, Palmetto Public Record decided to shine a little bit of campaign transparency on Wilson’s own political fundraising — and found a scheme similar to the one that led to Ard’s public resignation.

Ethics reports show that on March 26, 2010, Wilson’s campaign took out a $250,000 loan from First Community Bank of Lexington. According to the report, the loan’s designated purpose was for “cash on hand.” But after Wilson filed his campaign disclosure report on April 10, the media proclaimed that Wilson had “raised $488,500 in donations” — even though more than half of that amount was from the loan. Adding to the intrigue, political blogger Will Folks reported when the loan was issued that the bank’s chairman was Mitchell Willoughby — Wilson’s then-employer.

Nevertheless, Wilson’s supposedly prodigious fundraising helped him go on to beat Leighton Lord by less than two points in the Republican primary. But an amended disclosure report filed almost a month after the June primary shows that Wilson paid off the $250,000 loan on April 9 — one day before his campaign disclosed the loan on the ethics report, and less than two weeks after the loan was taken out. Two weeks isn’t enough time to actually do anything with the money before having to pay it back, but it did let Wilson tout an extra quarter-million in fundraising that didn’t actually exist — with the campaign only amending their ethics report months after the loan had served its purpose.

The Wilson campaign’s bait-and-switch was perfectly legal, because it involved a bank’s money instead of Wilson’s own. But by falsely pumping up Wilson’s campaign coffers, the two-week loan achieved essentially the same result as the scheme that led to Ard’s resignation. Wilson may have prosecuted Ard for breaking the letter of the law, but if politics is really about perception, the attorney general appears to be just as guilty as the former lieutenant governor of breaking the spirit.

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anonymous February 24, 2013 at 6:59 am

Alan Wilson had his own Ard-style “fictitious campaign”

Attorney General Alan Wilson at former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard’s court hearing

It took Attorney General Alan Wilson nearly eight months to indict former Lieutenant Governor Ken Ard for running a cash-for-contributions scheme during the disgraced Republican’s 2010 campaign. But when Wilson finally did bring criminal charges against South Carolina’s number two elected official, the attorney general came on like Gang Busters in a quick, coordinated attempt to get the fallout from Ard’s misuse of campaign funds over and done with.

State prosecutors showed how Ard illegally paid friends and family to donate to his campaign in order to pump up his fundraising numbers. Wilson said Ard’s “fictitious campaign” was designed “to create the false appearance of a groundswell of political support” by making it look like Ard had received much more in campaign donations than he actually did. Politics is about perception, as the saying goes, and Ard’s scheme gave voters a false perception that he was raising more money than he was.

“Campaign transparency was in reality campaign deceit,” Wilson melodramatically told reporters, adding that he hoped the Ard case would serve as an example to public officials trying to exploit or break campaign finance laws in order to boost their perceived support.

Naturally, Palmetto Public Record decided to shine a little bit of campaign transparency on Wilson’s own political fundraising — and found a scheme similar to the one that led to Ard’s public resignation.

Ethics reports show that on March 26, 2010, Wilson’s campaign took out a $250,000 loan from First Community Bank of Lexington. According to the report, the loan’s designated purpose was for “cash on hand.” But after Wilson filed his campaign disclosure report on April 10, the media proclaimed that Wilson had “raised $488,500 in donations” — even though more than half of that amount was from the loan. Adding to the intrigue, political blogger Will Folks reported when the loan was issued that the bank’s chairman was Mitchell Willoughby — Wilson’s then-employer.

Nevertheless, Wilson’s supposedly prodigious fundraising helped him go on to beat Leighton Lord by less than two points in the Republican primary. But an amended disclosure report filed almost a month after the June primary shows that Wilson paid off the $250,000 loan on April 9 — one day before his campaign disclosed the loan on the ethics report, and less than two weeks after the loan was taken out. Two weeks isn’t enough time to actually do anything with the money before having to pay it back, but it did let Wilson tout an extra quarter-million in fundraising that didn’t actually exist — with the campaign only amending their ethics report months after the loan had served its purpose.

The Wilson campaign’s bait-and-switch was perfectly legal, because it involved a bank’s money instead of Wilson’s own. But by falsely pumping up Wilson’s campaign coffers, the two-week loan achieved essentially the same result as the scheme that led to Ard’s resignation. Wilson may have prosecuted Ard for breaking the letter of the law, but if politics is really about perception, the attorney general appears to be just as guilty as the former lieutenant governor of breaking the spirit.

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Bill February 24, 2013 at 8:31 pm

But what does it matter? Wilson, Harrell, none of them will suffer. In fact they use the bad news to raise money! Corruption is the SC way!

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Bill February 24, 2013 at 7:31 pm

But what does it matter? Wilson, Harrell, none of them will suffer. In fact they use the bad news to raise money! Corruption is the SC way!

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