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TB Politics, Part Deux

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We wrote recently regarding the shameless political posturing of a trio of South Carolina Senators – Joel Lourie, Brad Hutto and Vincent Sheheen – each of whom participated in last week’s so-called “hearing” on the Greenwood, S.C. tuberculosis epidemic, which has infected dozens of people (mostly children) in this semi-rural community.

Why do we say “shameless?” Because these three Senators weren’t even remotely interested in conducting a legitimate investigation. They knew what caused the epidemic, but they proceeded to ignore it in an effort to score political points – all while covering up the failure of the local government-run school district to follow the law.

Why would they do that? According to Lourie, Hutto and Sheheen, the Palmetto State’s government-run schools can do no wrong – which is why they give these schools $10 billion a year to continue condemning generations of South Carolina school children to second-class status via galling across-the-boards incompetence.

Oh … and that “galling incompetence” now includes exposing them to potentially deadly and highly contagious airborne diseases, apparently.

Anyway …  despite indisputable evidence documenting the local school district’s failure to follow state law regarding tuberculosis testing for its new employees, these three status quo Senators went gunning for the head of the director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), Catherine Templeton. Why? Because Templeton is a high-profile appointee of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, and they believed implicating her  in connection to the scandal would have tied the whole thing around Haley’s neck.

There are several problems with that narrative, though. For starters, Templeton is the one who exposed the scandal in the first place. She’s also the one who has worked tirelessly over the last four months to get the people affected by it the help they need.

Now don’t get us wrong, Templeton’s agency isn’t necessarily some “white knight” in this mess. In fact the coverup culture which has existed at SCDHEC for years was alive and well in this incident – which is why the epidemic was only discovered when Templeton made an unannounced visit to Greenwood’s SCDHEC office in May of this year (two month’s after the identification of the contagious school district employee).

In light of this, it baffles us that former Haley staffer Jamie Shuster – one of Templeton’s top lieutenants at SCDHEC – hasn’t been fired for failing to blow the whistle on this epidemic when she first learned of it in mid-April.

But headhunting at SCDHEC isn’t the only reason Lourie, Hutto and Sheheen are on the warpath. Nor is the (largely unsuccessful) effort to implicate Haley in this scandal.

According to our sources on the S.C. Senate Medical Affairs committee, Sheheen’s primary objective has been to use the tuberculosis scandal to audition for a seat on this influential legislative panel. Specifically, we’re told he has been angling for the committee slot vacated by disgraced S.C. Sen. Robert Ford – who resigned from the Senate earlier this year amid an ethics probe.

“Vincent knows he’s not going to be elected governor,” one Senator told FITS. “So he’s moving to solidify his power within the chamber.”

In addition to Sheheen’s palace intrigue, FITS has uncovered several additional self-serving motivations on the part of the Democrats investigating this scandal. Stay tuned for those reports …