SC

Judicial Lobbying Raises Ethical Questions

ANOTHER PITFALL OF TAXPAYER-FUNDED LOBBYING EXPOSED … Like a lot of ex-politicians, former Columbia, S.C. mayor Bob Coble has landed a sweet gig as a lobbyist – advocating on behalf of government-subsidized corporations like Boeing and taxpayer-funded agencies like the S.C. Judicial Department. Which leads us to today’s story ……

ANOTHER PITFALL OF TAXPAYER-FUNDED LOBBYING EXPOSED …

Like a lot of ex-politicians, former Columbia, S.C. mayor Bob Coble has landed a sweet gig as a lobbyist – advocating on behalf of government-subsidized corporations like Boeing and taxpayer-funded agencies like the S.C. Judicial Department.

Which leads us to today’s story …

For those of you who haven’t been following the headlines, there’s a battle brewing at the S.C. State House between South Carolina’s chief justice Jean Toal (a.k.a. “Queen Jean”) and associate justice Costa Pleicones over the top spot on the Palmetto State’s highest court.

Toal had initially planned to step down and let Pleicones serve as chief justice briefly prior to his retirement, but then abruptly changed her mind.  Pleicones was livid – and immediately began laying the groundwork to challenge Toal.

In South Carolina, judges are elected by the S.C. General Assembly (which also hand picks the candidates).  And with lawmakers back in session this week, Toal has been furiously pressing the flesh in an effort to line up support.

At her side throughout this effort (and reportedly lobbying lawmakers directly on her behalf)?  Coble …

Which raises an interesting point: How exactly is Coble – a taxpayer-funded lobbyist on behalf of the entire judicial branch of government – able to lobby for one Supreme Court justice and against another?

Isn’t that unethical?

This website has repeatedly argued against taxpayer-funded lobbying, which perpetuates the growth of government and breeds corruption among bureaucrat and legislators.  The judicial branch of government – like any other state agency – should not employ taxpayer-funded lobbyists.

But if taxpayers are shelling out money so that one Supreme Court justice can troll for votes at the expense of another, that’s taking things to another level of shady …

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17 comments

Elfego January 17, 2014 at 10:00 am

Toal most probably will be reelected. She holds too many cards on the General Assembly and gives them what they ask for most of the time, Remember they reelected her last time after two leaving the scene of accident run ins. Both parties need each other!

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Junior January 17, 2014 at 10:21 am

Ask Rosalyn Frierson how letting Jean Toal handle her run for a judgeship worked out for her last year.

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Truth Wizard January 17, 2014 at 4:31 pm

So, what can be done to bring her down? Suggestions?

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Edgar January 17, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Hold your House member and state senator accountable. Tell them that if they vote for Toal, then you will publicize it during their next campaign. Toal is so unpopular with the masses, this should get their attention. Except for Sheheen, James Smith and Leatherman. They’re hopeless.

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Elfego January 17, 2014 at 6:33 pm

That will not work. After her run ins with the law that doesnt matter. It is about favors owed and who has what on whom!

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Justsayin January 18, 2014 at 8:20 am

Remember Toal ran unopposed in the last election. The citizens of SC do not have a say in this election, but their legislators do. Citizens have a long memory when it comes to state leaders getting away with DUI and they will remember the legislators who support Toal in this election. Ultimately, Toal’s legacy will always be tied to this incident.

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Dan on Divine January 17, 2014 at 10:20 am

Bob Coble has been a do-boy for Jean Toal for decades. He has the backbone of a jellyfish. He is not quite as unethical and dishonest as Jean Toal, but close. Jean has paid him back by hiring his daughter as one of her law clerks and stuff like that. When Daniel Coble finishes the present judicial clerkship Toal got for him, she’ll probably hire him to work with her for a year or so.

The good news is that most – nearly all – legislators know that Coble is such a namby pamby Toal whore loser that they have no real respect for him. Latest intel is that Pleicones is still in the lead. But Toal has taken the gloves off with some of her lawyer legislators whose ass she has bailed out of a crack with discipline complaints in the past.

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warren January 17, 2014 at 11:55 am

Toal is in trouble. Justice Pleicones wrote the opinion in 2012 that kicked 250 non incumbent candidates off the ballot. Most incumbent legislators were able to run unopposed as a result. Do you think they will remember Pleicones and what he did for them?

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Lunch guy January 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm

I just heard at lunch downtown today that Toal is way in trouble. There are many legislators who are tired of hearing about how and why does Toal get away with so much? There is some story about Nexsen Pruet getting sued several years ago and even though they lost the civil trial nothing ever happened to anyone about the unethical things the firm did in that case due to Coble going to Jean and getting them swept under the ethical rug.

Coble is the wrong choice for Toal, but James Smith wasn’t doing the job. Harrell is no longer a leader for her, Leatherman doesn’t know what day it is and McConnell no longer gives a damn.

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Greenville voice January 17, 2014 at 1:56 pm

What she did for Nexsen Pruet was nothing for what she did for the Wyche firm and Wallace Lightsey. Anyone want some HomeGold stock?

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legalize January 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Let us hope!

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Oh Sh#T January 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Using the names of Jean Hoefer Toal and Bob Coble in the same sentence is abhorrent, or should we say abWHOREant!
Toal needs to be sent into retirement!

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Truth Wizard January 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Bring Down SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell and Jean Toal, it creates a domino effect. So don’t just be talking about these lawless rogues. Band together and start actually taking them down. Complaining on message boards and on comment sections is only a way to vent. What really rattles their cages is digging up dirt, catching them in the act of doing things illegal – like Toal driving drunk and reporting on how much wine and booze she drinks each week. When was the last time, if ever that she has randomly been drug and alcohol tested?

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Dudley January 18, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Toal. Coble, Frannie, Liz, Betsy, Cromatie, and their little club of hangers-on are all sinking like rocks. Rather than go out with any honor, they sit in a little bitter huddle trying to pull all the little political favors they have left to make people believe they are still relevant. Once Toal is out in February, they can all just sit and drink in Jean’s kitchen and talk about how great they, all they did to “help” people, and how the people just didn’t understand how wonderful they were. Good Riddance.

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Its Over January 19, 2014 at 10:41 am

Toal will be re elected for a simple reason.By the time of the votePleicoes will hve withdrawn,concluding he cannot get a majority of the votes.

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Long time Lobbyist January 19, 2014 at 8:11 pm

I disagree. Toal is off the chain and DEMANDING votes now. Her need for self-glorification has become insatiable. They are a lot of legislators who know it and there is a lot of talking behind their hands going on in the back hallways. Toal thinks she is going to twist some arms at the Bar Convention next week, but her ever increasing need for adoration, trumped up awards and the need for people to be fawning all over her whenever she makes her grand entrances has become intolerable to some of the big dogs in the Bar. Coble has figuratively had his nose blooded a couple of times this week with a couple of lawyer-legislators he has slithered over to pin down. After Tuesday, people are going to start naming names and pointing fingers. Legislators are going to have explain WHY they are committing to Toal and they better have good answers. Watch, wait and see.

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Joyce January 19, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Bob Coble is NOT worried about breaching any ethics!!!! Jean Toal whimsically decides who is disciplined and who is not in the SC Judicial and Legal community. She is not going to turn on one of her own servants!

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