Former S.C. Sen. Robert Ford is weighing in on the campaign to fill the State Senate seat he vacated earlier this year – accusing a high-profile supporter of candidate Marlon Kimpson of violating a federal law which bans government employees from engaging in political campaigning.
“Someone needs to remind Mr. Clay Middleton and attorney Marion Kimpson that (Middleton) works for a federal agency in Washington, D.C.,” Ford wrote. “His job is covered by the federal Hatch Act which (prohibits) federal employees from getting involved with partisan political elections.”
According to Ford, Kimpson has paid for “round trip air travel” for Middleton to speak on his behalf at campaign events on four separate occasions.
“This is a clear violation of law,” Ford states.
Middleton is a special advisor at the U.S. President Barack Obama’s Department of Energy (DOE). Previously he served in the Obama administration as associate director for the White House Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Corporation for National and Community Service (good luck putting all that on a business card). Prior to that he was a Lowcountry field director for U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.).
Ford resigned his seat in the S.C. Senate midway through a hearing into multiple ethics allegations committed over a four-year period. Had he not resigned, “Republican” members of the ethics committee were prepared to recommend that he be expelled from the State Senate. While Ford certainly got what was coming to him, his trial exposed the rampant hypocrisy of “Republican” members of the S.C. General Assembly – who habitually ignore much more serious ethics violations committed by members of their own party.
Six Democrats are running in the special election for Ford’s seat. In addition to Kimpson, assistant solicitor Emmanuel Ferguson, former state bureaucrat Herbert S. Fielding, former highway commissioner Margaret Rush, former Charleston City Councilman Maurice Washington and self-employed contractor Bob Thompson have all filed for the seat.
Two libertarians and one Republican are also seeking the seat, although its status as a “majority-minority” district all but ensures that the Democratic primary winner will emerge victorious.