Lawmakers: Bobby Harrell “Rigged” Supreme Court Vote

PUBLIC CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS RISE TO NEW LEVEL …  S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell personally lobbied state lawmakers to switch their votes in a contested S.C. Supreme Court race – openly acknowledging his goal was to install a chief justice who would eventually clear him of public corruption charges….


S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell personally lobbied state lawmakers to switch their votes in a contested S.C. Supreme Court race – openly acknowledging his goal was to install a chief justice who would eventually clear him of public corruption charges.

Harrell is also accused of repeatedly referencing his ongoing legal plight in connection with the shameful bargain that ultimately provided his preferred justice with the votes she needed.

FITS has covered both instances of corruption previously (HERE and HERE), but discussions with dozens of lawmakers over the past few weeks have filled in disturbing details about the nature and extent of Harrell’s involvement.

More problematic for Harrell, FITS has spoken with at least six lawmakers who say they are willing to testify before a grand jury regarding the troubling lengths to which Harrell has gone in an effort to shut down any investigation of his multiple misdeeds.

“We are beyond Watergate at this point,” one of the lawmakers told FITS. “He rigged votes. To try and clear his name, he rigged votes.”

Three months ago, incumbent chief justice Jean Toal defeated challenger Costa Pleicones by a 95-74 vote margin.

According to our sources, five days before the vote was cast the margin was much closer.

“She was going to lose,” one lawmaker told FITS.

That’s when Harrell began leaning on legislators – among them S.C. Reps. Jimmy Merrill and Rita Allison.

“He was having problems keeping his committee chairmen in line,” one lawmaker familiar with the discussions told FITS. “He had to start going directly to members who have influence over certain constituencies within the chamber.”

Merrill – no friend of this website – did not respond to multiple calls seeking comment regarding his meeting with Harrell. Meanwhile Allison was not immediately available for comment.

Multiple sources tell FITS that both lawmakers were called individually into the S.C. House Sergeant-at-Arms office that Thursday – where they were “dressed down” by Harrell.

“Bobby was chewing Jimmy out,” one source said of the exchange between Harrell and Merrill, a former majority leader. “He was red-faced mad.”

What was the substance of that conversation?

“Bobby accused Jimmy of working to undermine him,” a source familiar with the exchange tells FITS. “Then Jimmy told Bobby he wouldn’t be Speaker were it not for him. They went at it for awhile. It was heated.”

Eventually, Harrell is said to have calmed down and apologized to Merrill – at which point he explained his reason for summoning him: Jean Toal.

Again, Merrill wouldn’t speak with us so we have no way of knowing specifically what was said – but we do know several people witnessed the exchange, and we know that Merrill shared details of the conversation with several of his colleagues. We also know what other lawmakers who received the same “Bobby Treatment” had to say about their conversations with the Speaker.

For example, one legislator who received an earful from the Speaker that same Thursday recalls what he and a colleague were told behind closed doors.


“He said the future of his Speakership depended on outcome of the Toal vote,” the lawmaker said flatly. “He said it was vital to him personally and to all members that the next chief justice be a friend of the body.”

“The body” is a term Representatives used to describe the S.C. House.

“I asked him ‘do you mean a friend of the body or a friend of yours, Bobby?'” the lawmaker recalls. “He smiled and said ‘you know my meaning.'”

In addition to specifically couching Toal’s reelection as a prerequisite for the preservation of his own power, Harrell allegedly went into the tactics he was employing to shut down S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s investigation.

“He said he’d gone to Alan’s friends in the body and asked them to stop (the probe) but they had failed him,” one lawmaker told us. “He singled out Rick Quinn in particular as having betrayed him.”

Quinn is the son of veteran South Carolina political consultant Richard Quinn. The duo is viewed by Harrell as spearheading the “intrigue” against him.

Lawmakers also told us Harrell repeatedly ripped Wilson during these conversations – and openly discussed his strategy for “taking Wilson out (FITS has previously reported on several components of that effort – HERE, HEREHERE and HERE).

In addition to directly lobbying members to switch their votes based on his need for self-preservation, Harrell also orchestrated a coup that landed him the support of virtually the entire S.C. Legislative Black Caucus. This is the deal that secured for him the votes needed to reelect Toal.

As we reported three months ago, Harrell joined with former minority leader Gilda Cobb-Hunter to throw a family court race in favor of S.C. Department of Social Services lawyer Tarita Dunbar – who is black.  Prior to Harrell’s intervention, Greenville, S.C. attorney Katherine Tiffany – who is white (and much more experienced) – was a lock to win this seat.

Harrell sources have consistently denied having anything to do with this shady deal. In fact they blamed another Republican lawmaker for conceiving and implementing the plot – saying the Speaker never entered into any discussions with other lawmakers about the Dunbar-Tiffany vote.

Again … it’s not news that Harrell intervened in this race on Toal’s behalf. Nor is it news he was allegedly cutting deals in connection with that effort.

It is, however, BIG news that multiple lawmakers are apparently willing to testify that such conduct took place – and not only that, took place in connection with obstructing a grand jury investigation.

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you know me May 1, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Bobby, it’s over.

anonymous May 1, 2014 at 3:31 pm

YOU’RE RIGHT, the Grand Jury investigation is over. Now, Wilson should find something else to do with his time. Doesn’t he have some work to do?

John May 1, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Don’t you have anything better to do than respond to every anti-Bobby comment and thread?

anonymous May 1, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Truth hurts sometimes, Huh?

The Voice May 1, 2014 at 4:09 pm

“anonymous” is just doing what he’s paid/obligated to do. Ain’t that right, Daddy’s boy?

Ashamed of SC May 2, 2014 at 10:25 am

You are absolutely, totally incorrect! Regardless of Manning”s ruling, the loser will appeal to the SC Supreme Court where Bobby holds all the cards. He owns Jean Toal. However this goes, it will be an exercise in futility. The only way Bobby gets what he obviously deserves is if the Feds get involved.

John May 1, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Won’t be long before the Bobby clones come here to discredit the article and attack the commenters.

southmauldin May 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Wait, he still has people defending him?

ted May 1, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Those defending him might not do so under oath.

anonymous May 1, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Fantasyland, there won’t be a grand jury investigation much longer anyway, so it doesn’t matter whether someone is willing to testify under oath or not. Wilson won’t be able to pull a rabbit out out a hat much longer, Harrell has won this one.

John May 1, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Like I was saying…

Mike at the Beach May 1, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Ima start callin’ you Nostra-freaking-damus, yo…

Deo Vindice SC May 1, 2014 at 6:34 pm

only if i call you stupid

Mike at the Beach May 1, 2014 at 6:55 pm

You appear to be a little slow, so I’ll notch it back a bit for your benefit. A) I wasn’t addressing you, so your comment makes no sense. B) It would truly bother me if certain people attempted to insult my mental acumen; you, strangely enough, didn’t make that list. C) My comment doesn’t denote or indicate where I fall in the Harrell vs. anti-Harrell debate, so you may be hurling your juvenile invective at a political ally. D) Please know, however, that troll-ish types who immediately resort to advanced rhetoric and high-minded debate such as “call you stupid” don’t bother me, so keep calm and carry on. Peace!

Sailor May 3, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Why don’t you just say :The FIX IS IN?

Halfvast Conspirator May 1, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Wonder what the judge will do tomorrow morning

anonymous May 1, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Wonder and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee.

stand828 May 1, 2014 at 5:58 pm

You haven’t been out for coffee in a while have you?

RogueElephant May 2, 2014 at 11:49 am

He hasn’t had a cup of coffee since Jimmy Carter was pres.

Jay Ellington May 1, 2014 at 3:00 pm

An awesome thrash metal band once opined…

William May 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm

I have no love for Harrell, he is just another corrupt Republican. Same ole, same ole, for that party. But this seems like no news to me. Isn’t this what politicians do all the time? They cut deals to get votes from other politicians. It clearly is not “rigging” the vote. That would mean he changed the numbers. Convincing another politician to vote your way by offering him a vote on something else in return, happens about 1000 times a day over there. This is certainly a lot less disturbing to me than all the bribes that are being taken by Reps and Senators for votes.

If Harrell gets kicked out another corrupt Republican will just take his place, nothing will change until the voters change the party in power.

More of the Same May 1, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Yeh I was waiting for the punch line.What are these legislators going to “testify” to?That Harrell bullied them into voting for Toal.Maybe you dont like it,but thats no crime.

Its easy to say one is “prepared” to “testify” when one knows there is nothing to testify about.

anonymous May 1, 2014 at 3:50 pm

BAM! Spot on.

From Washington, D.C. May 1, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Stupid Harrell fool. Your days, to, are numbered. You are going to be arrested by federal agents. They already know your real name, and more. Get a criminal lawyer, creep. You will need one soon.

anonymous May 2, 2014 at 1:13 am

“Yeh I was waiting for the punch line.What are these legislators going to “testify” to?That Harrell bullied them into voting for Toal.Maybe you dont like it,but thats no crime.”

“Its easy to say one is “prepared” to “testify” when one knows there is nothing to testify about.”

BAM! Spot on. BAM! BAM! BA-BAM!

Deo Vindice SC May 1, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Yep, rep’s rule SC

Hippocritter May 2, 2014 at 12:19 am

The irony of your comment is the implicit suggestion that Dems don’t have the same problems. They just don’t have much power in the state, so their dirty laundry isn’t aired as much.

William May 2, 2014 at 10:03 am

Wrong, when one party has total control the power principal takes over. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Republicans in SC have absolute power and have become absolutely corrupt. This is why divided government works better than consolidated government and why giving more an more power to the Governor is a bad idea.

But the other nature of power is that corrupt people always seek to increase their power and as it increases they become increasing corrupt. So SCs Republican party is constantly seeking to increase its absolute power and therefor the benefits of its corruption by convincing dumb people to vote against their economic interests.

Inciteful May 2, 2014 at 7:07 am

While Republicans have no ccorner on the corruption racket, unintendedly, you bring up an interesting point: “Which is better, corruption or stupidity?” Stupidity has the advantage of usually doing less damage. Maybe Sic Willi has it right, T-Rav, Sanford, and Bright may do us less damage than someone corrupt.

swampland May 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm

No. This is not “what politicians do all the time.” You will have to look far and wide in United States history to find another example of a legislative leader strong-arming his membership to affect the makeup of a court in an effort to stay out of prison.

nitrat May 1, 2014 at 3:17 pm

The SC Legislative Black Caucus is a disgrace.
They work against the state and the Democratic Party in their own self interest – not the interests of their constituents – their own personal self interest.
Their constituents would be better served by being represented by a member of a majority party, but that will never happen as long as the SC Legislative Black Caucus cuts deals with Republicans to gerrymander white Democratic districts out of existence. Cut off nose to spite face. Fools.

Dolph May 1, 2014 at 11:27 pm

White legislators give them minor concessions to keep them docile and re-elected. In return, they sell out their constituents. There are no real contests in the black districts. They’re all Uncle Toms. Yes, complete fools.

anonymous May 1, 2014 at 3:21 pm

“obstructing a grand jury investigation.” REALLY? Now that’s a stretch. This is really becoming some kind of joke.

Baby K. May 1, 2014 at 3:23 pm

It’s no news Friday – Bobby will get his way. Things like this always happen on Friday so the buzz can subside by Monday where business will return to the usual.

An aside: if Bobby is so wealthy why would he be so stupid to risk this kind of trouble over $300K? Either he had to use it to buy some people off or he is just dumb. I could believe either.

anonymous May 1, 2014 at 3:39 pm

“Either he had to use it to buy some people off or he is just dumb.” REALLY? You think that there are only two choices? What if the article is NOT true, then your conclusions would be the opposite, then you would have two more brain trust conclusions to make. Now I see why your name is Baby, it’s more like Baby Brain.

He called me names.. May 2, 2014 at 7:28 am

If he didn’t do it —— he would welcome the opportunity to lay that out in the public venue. Deductive reasoning – it works.

anonymous May 6, 2014 at 5:01 am

That’s not deductive reasoning, Scooter, and it depends on what “it” “IS”. No one, I say NO ONE is going to welcome a grand jury investigation, what planet are you from?

Halfvast Conspirator May 1, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Likely both

anonymous May 6, 2014 at 5:05 am

It’s not likely both, scooter. Now I know why they call you Halfass.

Polo Queen May 1, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Friday will mark a week without a ass-sucking tribute to that dude whose daddy had a bridge named for him. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Thomas May 1, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Come on Fits, it is all about politics AND money.

Ok, so you are moving to your new crib. So did you not have time to research this story? The question we have is the guest house for Grand Tango or T-Rav…both internet gold for FITS News for the obvious hate clicks they generate.


Is it possible the SC State bailout is payback to the S.C. Legislative Black Caucus for their votes to re-elect Toal against all possible odds?

anonymous May 1, 2014 at 3:56 pm

“Is it possible the SC State bailout is payback to the S.C. Legislative Black Caucus for their votes for Toal?”

That sounds more likely than anything I’ve read so far.

Deo Vindice SC May 1, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Nope, R ‘s and money

anonymous May 1, 2014 at 10:34 pm

They are all neither R or D at this level, dumbass. The R’s and D’s behind their names is only because their handlers told them what would get them elected. They both have $$$$.

Insider May 1, 2014 at 10:29 pm

The Black Caucus got all sorts of promises and such. Many were actually leaving Jean’s Machine, but the money promised and key appointments and “elected” judges by Harrell and Toal was too good to leave on the table.

The others were threatened with their positions on key committees.

anonymous May 1, 2014 at 10:33 pm

My representative is James Smith. I let him babble and whine on about why he voted for Toal. Harrell is his “friend.” I started to just slap the (*&^ out of him, but decided against going to jail for his pathetic creature.

anonymous May 6, 2014 at 4:54 am

Why don’t you just make something up? Oh, wait ….

Deo Vindice SC May 1, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Welp, all you pubs going to do the same to all the other pubs that have raped SC ? Many are in office now. Get Jean also, clean house. All dems, you name it. Only 1 condition, Nikki will never hold a position in SC, !!! The Vindice will come around some day for all .

Commonman May 1, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Bobby Harrell is ethically challenged and a bully. Where is Ron Cobb when you need him?

Deo Vindice SC May 1, 2014 at 5:09 pm

The entire State of SC is rigged. Is this now new ?

Deo Vindice SC May 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm

So, The question is; Who will be the next Corrupt Republican ?

Judith May 1, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Toal is now and has always been a Democrat. She is now and has always been a corrupt self centered lying addicted to power psychopath – as is Haley and Harrell. In our statehouse, it does not really matter with most of the politicos whether they carry the D or R. If should be C for corrupt or NC for not corrupt. .

Halfvast Conspirator May 1, 2014 at 6:11 pm

SC => Stupid Corrupt

Jock Stender, Charleston May 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm

For any group wishing to file suit against Harrell for what seems to be criminal suasion, I would be pleased to act as named plaintiff representing all similarly situated citizens.

This may be helpful as I believe he has violated the law and I live in his district.

H.R. Jock Stender
55 Boardman Rd.
Charleston, SC 29407

anonymous May 2, 2014 at 1:04 am

This post is completely false, scooter, SCOOTER! you should really take a break.

Jocks got an itch May 2, 2014 at 7:35 am

then just file the suit yourself

Cindy T May 1, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Possible investigation being considered of Haley and her staff attempting to impede the DSS hearings.

You Were Amonished May 1, 2014 at 5:26 pm

It is best they come clean while there is still time. I am telling you here and now, there are going to be federal agents raiding the homes and offices of many in the House of Representatives and many who are involved with the 526 boondoggle that Harrell shoved and pushed and pulled. Get your whistleblower status while you can – or go down with the Harrell/Toal/Manning/Howe/ Daniels ship. It is sinking fast.

Judith May 1, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Cindy T, I am hopeful you are correct. However, I have to agree with another person who posted earlier that either the FBI has left this state or they just don’t care. Toal and Harrell are absolutely convinced they are teflon to the Feds.

nitrat May 1, 2014 at 7:43 pm

And, we do not appear to have a US Attorney who can handle anything but mortgage fraud.

anonymous May 1, 2014 at 10:24 pm

Our U.S. Attorney is petrified with fear that in 2 years, he has to get a job. The judgeship is long gone. And nobody really give a rat’s ass about who his father in law is any more as he’s almost dead.

anonymous May 6, 2014 at 5:10 am

I have never heard of a US Attorney ever being petrified. Hey, I have an idea, why don’t you just make something up, oh wait….

Democratic Revenge May 2, 2014 at 7:33 am

If there is an opportunity to take out a bunch of SC Republicans eventually this will rise to the level where Obama / Holder put the pressure on. The Dems are still angry at the timing of the big drug bust that snared Riley, Jr. right when Dick was getting his nod to join the Clinton admn. Don’t think they have forgotten – someone is keeping a list. This could be shaping up to play out around , oh, say about 2016.

anonymous May 4, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Clinton Aide’s Son Faces Drug Charges



WASHINGTON — The son of Richard W. Riley, the former South Carolina governor named by President-elect Bill Clinton to oversee political appointments for the new Administration, was arrested Wednesday on federal cocaine and marijuana distribution charges. Richard W. Riley Jr., 33, was indicted Tuesday with 18 others in Greenville, S.C., by a federal grand jury on charges of distributing cocaine and marijuana and conspiring to possess the illicit drugs with the intent to distribute them.

The defendants, ranging in age from 16 to 47 years, were indicted after an investigation begun by the Greenville sheriff and police department in mid-1991, according to the FBI in Columbia, S.C. The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in the area, a combination of local, state and federal units that focuses on larger, more complicated narcotics cases, took over the investigation last December.

anonymous May 6, 2014 at 4:49 am

Which law firm does he work for again?

anonymous May 2, 2014 at 1:00 am

Fantasyland, the theme park is closed, you must go home now.

Edgar May 1, 2014 at 5:27 pm

For those of us who followed this election quite closely, I agree with all you write here. However, there are also some puzzling votes for Toal for which the truth has yet to surface. The little nobodies that Harrell could stiff arm were gimme’s when it came down to it. The Black Caucus selling out is okay, because nothing will ever happen to them for such another ethically challenged move. It’s the Tom Davis and Wes Hayes types that we haven’t figured out yet. Those two senators in particular had to be promised SOMETHING when both know for fact and had the evidence in their laps that Toal is corrupt. Davis, then used his position to coerce several other low country legislators to vote for Toal. Hayes will either retire or lose next time and Davis will keep lying about why he voted for Toal. Scumbags..

Guido Sarducci May 1, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Yep….good ‘ole SC at it’s finest…

Smirks May 1, 2014 at 6:12 pm

If politicians worked this hard for the people, we wouldn’t have jack to worry about in this state.

CorruptionInColumbia May 1, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Yeah, but why would the do that? It wouldn’t benefit them personally, which is what it’s really all about.

CorruptionInColumbia May 1, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Ok people of Charleston and Dorchester counties; we in Lexington County got rid of Jake Knotts, two years ago. With all of the corruption and malfeasance surrounding Bobby Harrell, surely you guys can do the same with him. How about it?

anonymous May 2, 2014 at 12:57 am

Are you begging now?

CorruptionInColumbia May 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Just sayin’… we got rid of our state and national embarrassment and so can you.

mm hmm May 1, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Not one of these legislators is willing to be named?

I’m skeptical.

Full Metal Jacket May 1, 2014 at 8:56 pm

No. And their balls are retracted into their abdomens. That’s what Harrell does to them. They’re like the little munchkins in the Wizard of Oz.

anonymous May 2, 2014 at 12:56 am

The phantom “these”, the unidentified people again. You have about as much credibility as the Wizard of Oz and the little munchkins have you beat.

Heres Whats Happening May 1, 2014 at 10:00 pm

HEADLINE NEWS …. Mark Levin calls Harrell a douche bag … Listener to his program called in, alleges that Harrell is sleeping with Lindsey Graham.

anonymous May 2, 2014 at 12:51 am

I knew it, you are gay bo.

William Wallace May 2, 2014 at 7:12 am

Afraid Harrell is drunk with power and high on influence peddling, just like Obama and Clyburn.

Judith May 2, 2014 at 8:06 am

and Toal and Haley and Leatherman and McConnell and….

anonymous May 6, 2014 at 4:41 am

and AG Wilson….

Fits Douche May 2, 2014 at 10:37 am

Oh my god! What breaking news! Wow you’ve really uncovered something incredible here FITS! A Speaker moves votes in a judicial race! How rare!

ELCID May 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Toal has thrown cases for law firms that helped her get elected in the past. Including one of the most important lawsuits in US History. The prime case that established children’s rights in schools. She should be impeached along with Harrell.

anonymous May 6, 2014 at 4:39 am

Pure guess work, guess again. You’re free to roam, go ahead, guess again, it’s free.

Edgar May 3, 2014 at 11:05 pm

It’s called bribery, folks and Folks. When greedy po’dunk legislators line up at the trough to get a prize for voting for Jean Toal – even if it’s from Bobby Harrell, it’s a bribe. Not business as usual at the SC State House. Bribery. Our committee decided you, Tom Davis and Wes Hayes were the biggest surprise whores.

Dan on Divine May 5, 2014 at 8:13 am

It has been repulsive to hear legislators out and about the past month laughing about what was promised, what was actually delivered, what legislators got what and what legislators will be punished for not doing what they were told to do by Harrell and Toal. Especially a couple of lawyer-legislators.

anonymous May 6, 2014 at 4:37 am

Sherlock is at it again.

anonymous May 6, 2014 at 4:35 am

Pure speculation and fantasy, Sherlock.


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