SC

Grand Jury To Hear Bobby Harrell Corruption Case (Updated)

A statewide grand jury will be impaneled to hear the corruption case involving S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell – arguably the most powerful elected official in the legislatively dominated Palmetto State. According to a statement released this week from S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office, “in response to…

A statewide grand jury will be impaneled to hear the corruption case involving S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell – arguably the most powerful elected official in the legislatively dominated Palmetto State.

According to a statement released this week from S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office, “in response to various inquiries to this Office regarding the status of the Speaker Bobby Harrell matter, this is to advise that it is being referred to the State Grand Jury.”

“No further comment will be forthcoming from this office due to State Grand Jury secrecy requirements,” the statement added.

Wow … that’s a shocker.

Sources familiar with the case previously told FITS they expected Wilson to send the case to the S.C. House Ethics Committee, where it would have almost certainly been whitewashed in the same manner as the 2012 ethics case against S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley.  We weren’t the only ones to hear that – as several of Harrell’s strongest supporters received the same scoop.

Looks like everybody missed this call …

Wilson’s referral is especially ballsy given his history with Harrell – although it remains to be seen whether he referred the case because he has the goods on the Speaker or because he is looking for a venue to wash his hands of the matter.

“It’s a way out for him,” one source said, referring to the grand jury as a way for Wilson “not to make a decision.”

Most others disagreed.

“I don’t know of any Attorney General who sends a case to the grand jury who isn’t 100 percent certain of the outcome,” one source familiar with the process told FITS.

The timing of Wilson’s announcement couldn’t be worse for Harrell, either.  Not only does it come less than twenty-four hours before the start of the 2014 legislative session, but Harrell’s political action committee – which is at the heart of the investigation – has a fundraising reception scheduled for next week.

Harrell is in hot water for a variety of abuses.  For starters he reimbursed himself more than $325,000 from his campaign account for dubious flight-related expenses (Harrell is a pilot). In fact he has effectively admitted his guilt by returning $23,000 of these reimbursements – although a proper accounting of his flight-related costs would require him to reimburse tens of thousands more.

Harrell also stands accused of applying improper pressure on the S.C. Pharmacy Board and the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (SCLLR) on behalf of his pharmaceutical business – using his official letterhead, no less.

Oh, and his political action committee is also under scrutiny for allegedly misappropriating and misreporting funds – including an effort to force taxpayers to pay hundreds of millions of dollars on an unnecessary transportation project.

Of course Harrell’s abuses pale in comparison to those of Haley – who was caught red-handed illegally lobbying government officials on behalf of her employer (among other offenses).

This website has already called on Harrell to step down – not only because of the allegations against him, but because of how he chose to respond to them. First he lied and refused to release his records. Then he assassinated the character of one of the reporters investigating him – strong-arming her newspaper into backing down by allegedly threatening to withhold an annual $12 million bribe given by the S.C. General Assembly to the newspaper industry.

Harrell is the second high-ranking South Carolina elected official Wilson has sent before a grand jury.

In February 2012, S.C. Lt. Gov. Ken Ard (RINO-Pamplico) resigned his office shortly before pleading guilty to an elaborate cash-for-contributions campaign finance scam (first exposed by FITS).

UPDATE: Speaker Harrell has just issued a response to Wilson’s decision.

UPDATE II: Drama …

UPDATE III: Our sources at the S.C. Attorney General’s office and the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) tell FITS they stand by their earlier assessments that Harrell will be exonerated.

UPDATE IV: What do you think? Vote in our poll …

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30 comments

CNSYD January 13, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Sic Willie tilting at windmills again (still).

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Will Folks aka Sic January 13, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Isn’t the “still” redundant since you already said “again?”

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tomstickler January 13, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Also, too.

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CNSYD January 13, 2014 at 4:27 pm

yes but done for emphasis as it one of your “causes” that you cling to even though its fruition is extremely doubtful. Sort of like Mace (did she disappear?) beating Graham.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein January 13, 2014 at 4:43 pm

The Dept. of Redundancy Department’s work is never done.

This month we are battling RAS Syndrome. Since we are not “government-funded”,TBG urges everyone reading this to go by their ATM machine, punch in their PIN number and donate generously.

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Recovering Lobbyist January 13, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Crosby, Nash, Stills, Young & Dumbass, living up to its name. Again. Still. Whatever.

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CNSYD January 13, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Sorry I gave you a choice. I forgot you couldn’t handle two things at one time.

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Judith January 13, 2014 at 3:10 pm

I heard this rumor on Friday. Harrell was trying to get Toal, of all people, to delay this Grand Jury thing until after her race with Pleicones was decided. She, of course, has promised Harrell “she will do all she can” to make the charges go away if he will secure her about 20-25 more votes in the House. She is way behind in the House and losing ground daily. Even the politicians are tired of Toal’s attempts at manipulation of such things and pressure was put in Wilson to get the Harrell case moving.

Don’t believe it? Wait and see.

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Low Country Lawyer January 13, 2014 at 3:13 pm

I heard last Thursday from a Family Court Judge that Toal is pressuring state judges she claims she helped get elected to work their best legislative connections to help her get votes in the House. The judges who have gotten these messages are livid. Some judges don’t even want to go to the SC BAR Convention for fear of being cornered by Toal. She is a bully if nothing else.

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Haha! January 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm

What’s amusing is that Toal,a well known Democrat, is even “in” this race at all,considering the Republican domination of the SC Legislature.

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Low Country Lawyer January 13, 2014 at 10:14 pm

It’s a necessary evil for Toal. Same as McConnell is a Republican and a good many others. The R is only a sham name for many of them. They are really all of the same old time Demo blood. Toal is panicking over the fact that somebody else is going to get into her secret files. The U.S. Attorney’s office has turned on Toal. It’s no secret now. Nettles can no longer help and/or cover for her.

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Kewl Kewl January 15, 2014 at 1:41 am

Whats really kewl is Toal is going to be busted for drunk driving.

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Jeffy01 January 13, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Wanna bet that the Policy Council won’t like the result of this.

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Roseanne January 13, 2014 at 4:10 pm

All the AG has to do is present a weak case to the grand jury so they won’t indict. Then both he and Harrell are off the hook. Harrell can say the grand jury didn’t find anything, and Wilson can say he did all he could.

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Columbia Insider January 13, 2014 at 5:06 pm

So you think the AG would be willing to appear incompetent? Not going to happen. As the saying goes, a good prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich. Bobby’s going down.

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Joe Wilson January 13, 2014 at 5:51 pm

That’s exactly how it’s going down. My son will never indict a fellow republican and especially not one as noble and powerful as Bobby. We don’t eat our own unless it’s absolutely necessary. Free Bobby!

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Oscar January 13, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Wilson had a choice; either send Leatherman’s man Reynolds Williams of investment commission fame (he made a couple hundred thousand off the commission investments) to grand jury or send Harrell. He chose Leatherman because Haley spoke to him at least three times on the subject (Haley hates Harrell). Wilson’s mom Roxane is from Florence and has deep ties there and because Eddie Floyd said if Reynolds went free he would raise zillions for Wilson in 2014. And never forget Harrell could be a candidate for Guv in 2016 at the same time Wilson will be running.

The timing, at the beginning of the session, shows it is personal. Haley and Wilson want Harrell out and this is how to do it.

PS. Never forget the SC Policy Council has special funding to get rid of Harrell. It came from Koch brothers. Haley and Wilson luvs den Koch brothers and that money! Harrell is chap price to pay to get Koch zillions.

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Act III Popcorn January 13, 2014 at 7:22 pm

They are entwined in collusion. Its all an act.

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Mark January 13, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Haley always get her man.

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Blacks2 January 13, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Damn skippy she does. She is vindictive as hell and she set her evil eye on him last year.

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Ken January 13, 2014 at 8:00 pm

This means Alan Wilson is running for governor in 2018

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rwwllms January 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Haley will step in and pardon Harrell.

The H’s look after each other (remember, the ‘W’ is silent).

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The Dome January 13, 2014 at 6:24 pm

A little Napoleon!
You can wilson did this beacuse there is a great deal of evidece and Wilson wanted this monkey off his back and on someone else!

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Squishy123 January 13, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Nothing will happen, they’re just grandstanding to show that they tried.

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Bryan Wqsc Crabtree January 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm

What do you all think about the $12million dollar “bribe” to the newspapers in SC? Seems like the lack of in depth reporting of corruption and ethics by the local papers is in order to keep the legislators from jerking this awful subsidy…

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Lake January 13, 2014 at 7:02 pm

“Of course Harrell’s abuses pale in comparison to those of Haley – who was caught red-handed illegally lobbying government officials on behalf of her employer (among other offenses).”

So FITS thinks Harrell should be jailed but you are going to endorse Haley for re-election. I think you need to explain this logic.

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nitrat January 13, 2014 at 7:03 pm

“I don’t know of any Attorney General who sends a case to the grand jury who isn’t 100 percent certain of the outcome,” one source familiar with the process told FITS.

Then, they have not paid attention to Alan Wilson. This way he looks like he’s doing something. And, we won’t be there to know how well his people are presenting his evidence.

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Fly On The Wall January 13, 2014 at 7:21 pm

The Feds are secretly talking about 100s of indictments. And they aint all against Booby, either.

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Town Crier January 13, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Here’s hoping he drags India Null Hazzard Pickelsimer (or whatever her name is now) down with him.

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I Know More Than You Think January 15, 2014 at 1:38 am

Gonna be so easy to prove that his documentation of expenses are mostly fraudulent now that the grand jury will subpoena all of his records and have investigators check it all out with a fine tooth comb. If he gets off, we know that the corruption is really much worst than we presently think.

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