Below are several statements from an ideologically diverse group of organizations on today’s revelation that Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell is attempting to have Attorney General Alan Wilson ejected from the grand jury’s investigation into Harrell’s alleged misconduct.
From Ashley Landess, President of the South Carolina Policy Council:
“A report by The State that Speaker Harrell’s attorneys are trying to get the Attorney General thrown off of Harrell’s case is alarming, and to make matters worse he wants the hearing to be held in private.
“Neither scenario should be allowed. Public trust is finally on the rise, largely because the Attorney General agreed to take our complaint into Speaker Harrell’s alleged ethics violations after we raised inherent due process problems that would inevitably arise if we were forced to file it with House Ethics Committee.
“It’s worth noting that Harrell raised no concerns about the inherent conflicts in that process, including that he himself controls the staff that would have been tasked with investigating the complaint.
“Speaker Harrell has taken every opportunity to exert his extraordinary power to receive special treatment. He even used his power to push a secret bill through full committee that would have literally decriminalized all the ethics violations of which he is accused. He also demanded that the AG release the SLED report after it had been turned over to the Grand Jury and thus became part of the secret process under which the Grand Jury operates. The Speaker knows very well that secrecy exists for a reason – the state Grand Jury handles cases involving children and gang-related crimes. Yet the Speaker fully expected that the secrecy that protects those victims and witnesses be waived for his convenience. But now, the Speaker wants the hearing about the AG’s purported “conflict” to be held in private. That hearing would be a procedural one, and not part of the Grand Jury proceedings – it makes no sense that the hearing would be held in private.
“It is the role of the Attorney General to handle Grand Jury cases, and there appears to be no instance in which an Attorney General has been removed from a state Grand Jury case. It is difficult to conceive what the alleged conflict might be, especially since there has been no hint of one so far.
“The Speaker certainly deserves the chance to make his case, however weak it may be, but he doesn’t deserve a private hearing. The Attorney General is the public’s advocate, and there are two sides to this matter. Public trust in our state’s judicial system is at its lowest when the doors close to protect powerful politicians.
“Citizens have no choice now but to trust those in charge of this process. So far, we’ve been pleasantly surprised that those in charge of this investigation have acted in the public interest. We hope that continues to be the case. The Speaker should receive no special treatment.”
From Talbert Black, coordinator of South Carolina Campaign for Liberty:
“Wednesday, The State reported that Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell is trying to get a secret judicial proceeding to have the Attorney General thrown off his case. If this is true, it will not surprise me. It fits a pattern of behavior. Harrell seems to be trying everything he can to circumvent the due process that we as American citizens cherish because it guarantees every citizen equal treatment under the law. At every turn it seems Harrell has tried to make himself above the law and ask for special treatment.
“When allegations first surfaced that Harrell had misused his campaign funds, instead of making full disclosure of his accounts to the public as required by state law, he insisted on maintaining privacy. If he is indeed innocent, as he claims, full disclosure of his campaign accounts would have disproved the allegations and exonerated him.
“When his case was turned over to the grand jury, which by law maintains a veil of secrecy over its proceedings, Harrell declared he wanted his case opened to the public. Ironically, the very documents he insisted remain secret when allegations first arose, were part of what he then insisted be disclosed, and still had the power to disclose if he so chose.
“Now, as reported by The State, Harrell is requesting a secret hearing to have the Attorney General dismissed from his case. This hearing should be public, as is the normal procedure and constitutionally required. But somehow Harrell again thinks he is special.
“Which is it for Mr. Harrell, openness or secrecy? It seems he wants whatever is best for him, regardless of the requirements of the law.
“At Palmetto Liberty, we insist that all politicians be subject to the law, no matter what their position. If Harrell is granted a secret hearing to have the Attorney General dismissed from his case it will be a serious breach of our state Constitution, public trust in the judicial process, and the principle of equality under the law. This cannot be allowed to happen.”
From John Crangle, Executive Director of Common Cause / South Carolina:
“Common Cause/SC opposes holding a secret hearing on any motion to remove Attorney General Alan Wilson from the matter presented to the state grand jury relating to Speaker Harrell’s conduct as a public official and candidate for office. Such a motion would be highly abnormal. The public has an overriding interest in information relating to the Harrell matter which is much greater than any interest in secrecy which might be asserted by Harrell. We also object to any motion to remove Attorney General Wilson from the matter as no cause has been shown at the time, and we know of no such cause.”
From JoAnne Day and Lynn Teague, Co-President and Vice President for Issues and Action (respectively), of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina:
“The League of Women Voters regards independent investigation as central to effective enforcement of ethics laws that have been enacted to protect the public interest. At present, most complaints against members of the South Carolina General Assembly lack this crucial element. Internal committees of the Senate and House of Representatives handle most cases involving their members, a system that is subject to distortion by serious conflicts of interest. The one dependable mechanism now available to protect the citizens of South Carolina when the ethics of legislators are in question is referral to the Office of the Attorney General. The Attorney General, elected by the people of South Carolina to enforce our laws, can draw on the resources of SLED for professional investigation and can refer cases to the State Grand Jury when appropriate.
“The League would prefer a very different system of enforcement to that now available, one in which complaints against legislators would routinely go first to an independent Ethics Commission for investigation and recommendations. The Attorney General would continue to be involved when there is probable cause to believe that there have been criminal violations. We believe that this would serve the public interest far more consistently than the present system of internal investigation of most cases, and at the same time provide more protection for public officials faced with frivolous complaints. However, attempts to incorporate such measures into ethics legislation failed in the Senate earlier this month, and we certainly do not have such a system now. The best that we can hope for at present is that the important role of the Office of the Attorney General is respected and that the process of consideration by that Office and by the State Grand Jury is not subject to manipulation. We can ask that actions outside the internal deliberations of the State Grand Jury be handled with the maximum possible openness, to provide the sunlight that we all know is the best disinfectant in our political system.
“And finally, we can ask that as legislation to revise our ethics process moves forward in the General Assembly, legislators take seriously their responsibility to enact a more consistently reliable system of investigation than that available at present, one that can be trusted even when complaints are not referred first to the Office of the Attorney General.”
From Dana Beach of the Coastal Conservation League:
“We learned from today’s article by John Monk with the State newspaper about the effort by Speaker Harrell’s lawyers to remove Attorney General Alan Wilson from the pending ethics investigation. We are concerned about, and object to, the proposed closed door hearing to debate that motion. The gravity of this case requires that it be treated with scrupulous integrity and that decisions about its disposition be completely accessible to the public. A secret hearing would cast a pall of disrepute not only on the outcome of this particular case, but on the process of ethics investigation and enforcement as a whole. Ultimately, this type of clandestine hearing could stain South Carolina’s image at a time when we can least afford another national embarrassment.”
(Editor’s Note: The above communication is a news release and does not necessarily reflect the editorial position of FITSNews.com. To submit your letter, news release, email blast, media advisory or issues statement for publication, click here).
“Which is it for Mr. Harrell, openness or secrecy?”
Harrell and Haley both seem very confused…
Harrell, Obama, Haley and a host of other elected officials mistakenly feel they were anointed emperor and we (the peasants) are there to toil away for their benefit.
Dems in disarray over Obamacare…
President’s pitch to young people relies on bogus math…
SCRAMBLE: White House exempts healthcare law from ‘sequester’ cuts…
Admin Trots Out ‘Angry Mom’ to Push…
Obama begs, ‘Do you still have my back?’
THRILL IS GONE: Chris Matthews Concedes Senate to GOP…
Is that crap running down you leg…LMAO…Uh—oh…..
Pretty sad that I don’t even have to think for five seconds to know he’s just copy/pasting made-up headlines from Drudge Report. (And yes, a quick trip to Drudge proves that.)
I’m not trying to hide that…..I just want FITS to get his head out of your, and Obama’s @$$…and report some pertinent political news…
PS: If they are FROM Drudge…how are they made up, you [email protected]$$….
Made up by Drudge [email protected]$$
Made up, as in most of the times they aren’t the actual headlines pulled off of the article linked, or even words from the articles themselves in most cases. Hell, half of the links there go to right wing
newspropaganda outlets and even THEN they can’t resist having something different displayed on their site. A good number of the times they do link to actual news organizations, the “headline” is often one single piece of the entire article taken out of context and blown out of proportion.
Of course, that’s why you don’t post a link to Drudge instead, or to the articles themselves. You’d rather paste a string of false headlines and pretend that they are actual news organizations’ headlines ripped straight off their own sites. Nice try. It’s the same bullshit /r/politics pulls on reddit half the times for the retard upvoters who never actually click the links they upvote, so I can’t say it is strictly a Republican thing, but it is absolutely strictly a dumbass thing.
Dredge Report hasn’t changed at all over the years. Hell, it still has its antiquated design, so it feels like stepping back into the 90’s every time I feel dumb enough to go.
not really. Besides … who cares???
You seem to care enough to be a trolling fuck.
This is confusing. Sic Willie has told us he was driving the train against Harrell. Now we find out it is Ashley Landess.
Dana Beach? Is there a coastal conservation aspect to this situation?
I’m sure it has to do with Harrell’s support of that waste of $$$ known as the I 526 extension. That would enrich his buddies.
Harrell might not make it into state prison. But he and many of his cronies will be found guilty of felonies. When the feds step into to this matter, Harrell will end up serving time. Now we know his cronies monitor this website, and to those I ask – “what kind of bird don’t fly”? Many of you cronies will go down with the sack of dung, himself. You are all being watched and spied upon.
Wishful thinking, Wilson has too many ethics violations of his own to prosecute Harrell. In fact, when the truth comes out Wilson, his cronies and leaches will be looking for another job.
Your dementia is noted. And it is also noted that you are connected to the scum that is facing prison.
Not, ……good try though.
You’re an idiot. Go away for a dragon swoops down and takes you away to never neverland.
What T-Rav did not issue a statement?
“It is the role of the Attorney General to handle Grand Jury cases, and there appears to be no instance in which an Attorney General has been removed from a state Grand Jury case. It is difficult to conceive what the alleged conflict might be, especially since there has been no hint of one so far.”
— Ashley Landess
If the infamously corrupt Chief Justice Jean Toal makes the decision(s) to (a) allow a closed hearing and/or (b) remove the Attorney General from the Harrell case, is there a mechanism for citizens to remove her by petition or otherwise?
Harrell is probably already having nightmares about life in an L2 SCDOC prison:
LEVEL 2 (L2)
Level 2 facilities are medium-security institutions. Housing is primarily double bunk, cell type with some institutions having double-bunk cubicles. With single fenced perimeters and electronic surveillance, level 2 institutions provide a higher level of security than level 1 facilities.
If convicted, he’ll probably be locked up at SCDOC’s facilities at McDougall or Ridgeland, 49 and 73 mi. from Charleston, respectively.
The Legislature can remove Jean Toal and should have done so in 2007. However, she has been smart enough to keep portfolio’s on many of the House members and State Senators – like J. Edgar Hoover – and she owns too many of them to get impeached. There is new credible evidence leaking hourly that Toal is doing all she can to save Harrell – who saved her last month. Keep digging. ps. Harrell will never serve time – he’ll get probation, max. Betcha a beer.
Thanks, Anonymous Insider, I appreciate that. Questions: Assume Harrell doesn’t serve a prison sentence but is convicted. First: What charges would he face? Second: If he’s indicted on any charge, is he still compelled to resign his position in the legislature? I would be pleased with that. I believe that once convicted, his constituents will consider him a bad actor, disreputable … well, criminal, and he would not survive a republican primary or a general election. I’m not George Gallup and don’t have anything other than my intuition, but have a gut feeling that some clean-smelling candidate would run. What do you think? Third: If he is convicted of a felony, would that prohibit him from serving in the legislature?
Same logic applies to Alan Wilson.
Wilson is the Pot calling the Kettle Black. He has breached the public trust and should resign. It’s laughable that Wilson and his leaches are going after Harrell when what they have done is way worse. Wilson has forfeited his right to prosecute ethics violations given the plethora of ethics violations of his own. Wilson is getting bad advice from his leaches, since he has demonstrated that he is incapable of thinking on his own, he is Attorney General in name only.
Bobby, I see your picture in the papers and the web and, geez, you’ve aged ten to fifteen years. And you’ve got an ulcer on your lips, and you’re growing jowls?
And the big, color mailer I got on Tuesday, with your lovely wife, daughters and son — I’m sure that’ll be a collectors’ item. Your last campaign mailout.
You gonna tape that one to your cell wall?
Oh, heads-up — your hair — well, when you’re processed, you’ll get a razor cut.
The good news is that you’ll get plenty of exercise in the workout yard, so you can take off some of that extra weight you’ve put on since SLED started looking at your airplane documents etc.
(Bad news — The shoes are not comfortable.)
Alan Wilson’s photo’s also look like he is constipated, do they not have bathrooms in the Attorney generals office? He must be worried that Harrell is going to take him and his cronies and leaches down.
Look at it the other way reader, the AG wants out and Bobby is just helping him be successful in a surreptitious yet public way; oh wait, I mean clandestine, my bad. Do you understand this is after all, South Carolina.
Wilson hasn’t a clue as to what’s coming. Better update your resume, Alan…..just sayin’