SC

Free Public Relations Advice For Bobby Harrell

“DUDE … YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG” By Will Folks  ||  It should be abundantly clear at this point that there’s no love lost between me and S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell (RINO-Charleston). I’ve spent the better part of the last half-decade exposing Harrell’s fiscal liberalism and failed addiction…

“DUDE … YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG”

By Will Folks  ||  It should be abundantly clear at this point that there’s no love lost between me and S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell (RINO-Charleston).

I’ve spent the better part of the last half-decade exposing Harrell’s fiscal liberalism and failed addiction to command economics (a.k.a. THIS), and the better part of the past two years helping drive the narrative about his rampant corruption (a.k.a. THIS).

“Me and the Speaker is not peas and carrots,” in other words.

Yet while I loathe Harrell and the self-serving, hypocritical brand of big government, corporate welfare “Republicanism” he advances, I cannot help but view his current plight as a teachable moment for other politicians caught up similar scandals. That’s because Harrell is pretty much rewriting the book on “what not to do” in the event of a public corruption allegation.

“Dude, you’re doing it wrong.” All wrong.

At each and every step of his crisis Harrell has misstepped – often badly. In the process he’s projected guilt as opposed to innocence, pettiness as opposed to maturity and vindictiveness as opposed to statesmanship.

None of which is helping his political position …

Let’s recap Harrell’s various maneuverings since reporter Renee Dudley (formerly of The Charleston Post and Courier) broke the first major corruption story involving him: First he lied and refused to release his records. Then he assassinated Dudley’s character  – and strong-armed her newspaper by allegedly threatening to withhold an annual $12 million bribe given by the S.C. General Assembly to the newspaper industry.

More recently Harrell has launched a “blood war” against his political enemies (my website has previously reported on several components of that effort – HEREHEREHERE and HERE). He’s also been accused of rigging a S.C. Supreme Court election in an effort to ensure his case gets the outcome he wants from the state’s highest court.

And again … all of that is on top of the broad public corruption allegations he was already facing.

“Whoever is handling his PR should be shot,” one well-connected lobbyist told me. “You can proclaim victory all you want but everyone knows this isn’t over. He looks desperate.”

That’s for sure …

This lobbyist also confirmed what FITS has heard from state lawmakers about the deleterious impact Harrell’s desperate tactics are having on the chamber he governs.

“He’s destroying the House,” the lobbyist said.

So who is running Bobby Harrell’s public relations effort? That’s the problem: Bobby Harrell is.

Sure, all public figures are ultimately responsible for their own PR – but in most cases they receive advice from trusted friends or paid professionals. Or both. That’s not the case in Harrell’s situation, according to sources familiar with the operation.

“Bobby isn’t advised on these matters,” the source said. “There is no kitchen cabinet, there is only what ‘Charleston’ says.”

‘Charleston’ is the term Harrell’s network of young operatives uses to describe the Speaker.

I asked a veteran public relations practitioner in Columbia, S.C. to sum up Harrell’s public relations efforts in three words.

“Children playing games,” he initially offered, although upon a momentary reflection he asked if he could revise his remark.

“I’ve got a better one,” he said. “How about ‘guilty as hell.'”

Indeed …

Harrell has committed the No. 1 fatal mistake a politician can make during a public relations crisis: He’s tried to manage it himself. He’s also committed the second fatal mistake: Making decisions emotionally.

I know because I’ve made both mistakes myself …

So … what should he do instead?

Far be it from me to advise an individual whom I believe to be guilty as sin, but in Harrell’s case there’s some real wisdom to be gained by those of us who study the craft. Accordingly, here’s what I would do if I were Harrell (perish the thought) …

1) Acknowledge the legitimacy of the inquiry into his various political dealings and pledge his cooperation moving forward.

2) Apologize to the individuals smeared by his political machine – and vow to cease all future attacks.

3) Personally lead the fight to bring long-overdue ethics reform to state government (particularly the corrupt self-policing practice of the S.C. General Assembly).

4) Hire a professional to advise him moving forward.

Those would be the actions of a sensible, mature leader (to say nothing of an innocent one) …  and each suggestion is something Harrell could conceivably do without surrendering a single inch of ground on the substance of the complaint against him.

Will Harrell do any of these things? Of course not …

His first problem? “Full cooperation” could wind up being incredibly incriminating for him. His second problem? Threats and cajoling are likely the only things keeping him in power right now – and pulling the plug on his petty, hate machine could bring the whole house of cards collapsing down around him. As for championing ethics reform (and specifically the end of corrupt legislative self-policing), Harrell would be removing the corrupt “fox guards hen house” system he’s relying on to absolve him of any guilt.

And which got S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley off the hook in her corruption case.

So … yeah. Therein lies the dilemma.

Still, it’s surprising the Speaker hasn’t at least paid lip service to these notions. After all, like most South Carolina politicians Harrell has been saying one thing and doing another his entire career … and pretending to take the high road in response to this case shouldn’t be all that much different than pretending to cut government, right?

Which makes Harrell’s public relations ineptness all the more baffling …

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42 comments

anonymous May 20, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Harrell, Jean Toal and Hugh Leatherman all deserve each other. All those Toal and Harrell whores who voted for Toal? They are too stupid and corrupt to be in the Legislature and should be thrown out also. Just sayin’. Have a nice day.

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anonymous May 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Trikki and Wilson have set the standard rewrote the book on “what not to do”.

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Norma Scok May 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm

lulz..almost as good as T-Rav giving life advice.

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Smirks May 20, 2014 at 1:34 pm

“If you’re going to snort coke off a hooker’s ass, make sure she doesn’t have gas.”

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euwe max May 20, 2014 at 1:17 pm

It’s too late for advice after jumping off a building… except, maybe – “close your eyes.”

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anonymous May 20, 2014 at 1:22 pm

SIX DAYS AGO Contempt of Court

Contempt of Court: “The attorney general has not yet filed an appeal. He may wait as long as he can so he can continue to defy Manning’s order to halt his investigation and not run the risk that the Supreme Court also would order him to stop.” …”Once Wilson files an appeal, he is under the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction.”

NOW: uh uh uh Scooter

Columbia, SC (WLTX) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has appealed a ruling involving House Speaker Bobby Harrell to the State Supreme Court. Wilson is appealing a ruling by Circuit Judge Casey Manning, who has ruled a State Grand Jury considering the allegations was improperly empaneled.

Which is it?

1. “Wilson may wait as long as he can so he can continue to defy Manning’s order to halt his investigation” OR………OR……

2. “Wilson has appealed a ruling involving House Speaker Bobby Harrell to the State Supreme Court.”

Those two statements by AG Wilson are six days apart, I’d say what Harrell is dealing with is a two-headed monster.

uh uh uh …..I’m not going to appeal…….uh uh uh….no wait…..uh uh uh ….I’m going to appeal……uh uh uh…. no wait……

That’s what the taxpayers of South Carolina are paying for, dumb legal advice.

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Centrist View May 20, 2014 at 1:45 pm

“In the process he’s projected guilt as opposed to innocence, pettiness as opposed to maturity and vindictiveness as opposed to statesmanship.”

Sounds like he posts a lot on Facebook.

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CNSYD May 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Sic Willie’s free advice is worth every penny you pay for it.

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URWrong May 20, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Will, you’re wrong on this one. I wish you were right, but you are not. How has Harrell handled it poorly? He’s still Speaker and will continue to be. Look at the facts. (1) Yes, he lied about Dudley and strong-armed the P&C. Result, P&C retracts story and Dudley is gone. (2) Yes, he rigs the Supreme Court race to get his corrupt Chief Justice back in there. Result, he succeeds. {A race you incorrectly said did not matter.} (3) Yes, he launched a “blood war” against his enemies. Result, all of his enemies are on the run and no one will dare vote against him for re-election as Speaker. (4) Yes, he converted $300k of his campaign money for personal use. Result, the investigation is dismissed and his plane is paid for with campaign funds. “Poor advice” to himself…Really?

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Kickin' Chicken May 20, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Game, set & match to URWrong.

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IP Tracking Expert May 21, 2014 at 12:03 am

Your are oblivious, a liar, and a criminal.

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Guero May 22, 2014 at 7:09 am

Corporate welfare? Really, Billy Folks? Your Corporate Wefare Queen is kirkman Finley! Talk to us , Billy…..We’ll leave the light on

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Stinkbait May 20, 2014 at 1:53 pm

That’s wise counsel & a well-thought piece. You’re ‘spot-on’ with this one.

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Rufus May 20, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Amen, brother.

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Sandi Morals May 20, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Same story.Same story.Same story.Same story.Same story.
FITS posts a couple of articles about the sconomy and health care…issues that matter to middle America folks…the filthy,lib/socialists that occupy FITS can’t compete in the arena of ideas and opinion in the comment sections on these subjects…so here comes Bobby Harrell article #122 and now the sewer lid opens for the bloggers whose only comments about the subject are about sucking cocks etc…
Apparently it is Loony Tunes time with Warner Bros. presenting Smirks as Daffy Duck and euwe max as Elmer Fudd. Have at it gang. The ‘coyote’ always loses and the ‘roadrunner’ is always after you! :-)

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Philip Branton May 20, 2014 at 2:14 pm

FREE public relations advice for Wil Folks……!!!

“Dude, you’re doing it wrong.” All wrong…..

At each and every step of Harrell’s “crisis” Folks has misstepped – often badly. In the process Wil’s projected a guilty form of journalism on par with the Post and Courier as opposed to “active” innocence, pettiness as opposed to mature leadership and vindictiveness as opposed to informational statesmanship.

None of which is helping his website position, ad revenues or South Carolina school system educational value…

Does Wil want to be relevant in this state somewhere..? Why have this website at all…?
When was the last time any article on FItnews was used in a pulpit on Sunday Morning..? When was the last time this website was used in the SOuth Carolina School of Journalism…?

Heck, has there been any billboard with a face of Lindsey Graham having “Fitsnews” across his forehead anywhere on our interstate system…? Not that I’ve seen. Talk about a marketing bonanza…!!?

Geez….at least Wil should have the GUTS to pull a FOI and find out how many veterans have called anyone at the statehouse about VA Care since Lindsey Graham has been so quiet..!! The NSA is tracking all phone calls…right..? Geez….just get a printout of all the phone records for the entire state capital and see just how many calls were from VETERANS and ask Bobby and Lindsey and Tim Scott some questions …..,!!!

Its more than the Post and Courier is doing…!!!

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junior justice May 20, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Pleeeeze, don’t let Harrell be———-The GrandTango!?

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you know me May 20, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Don’t you mean The Grand Dildo?

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neighbor May 20, 2014 at 3:35 pm

It’s sad that the parents did not get help for Bobby early on. They had to know something was wrong with him.

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Institute of Psychiatry May 21, 2014 at 12:06 am

Yes. Exactly. Harrell’s psychosis has been repeated noted. I think at the least, he is bipolar and compulsive reactive; not to mention a pathological narcissistic sociopath in sheep clothing.

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Harrell's Cronies Are Fucked May 20, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Bottom line, Harrell is a spoiled rotten little dick head. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His daddy was no better. Think, “like father, like son.” His father only got away with it because there was no internet or no “fitsnews” or no real watch dog groups like today. Bobby is old school. His mindset – old school. His behavior = that of an child who throws a hissy fit when he doesn’t get his way. He is as thin skinned as they come. And it is easy to push his buttons. He is guilty. Nobody – and I repeat, “Nobody” that is innocent would resort to such bullshit crappy adolescent tactics as he has. He should have controlled his angry and his temper. Now it is too late for him. He has shown his true colors. And the people have formed the opinion that he is a felon and that Manning has violated the law himself under the crux to possibly save Harrell from jail time. Well, it didn’t work. It failed. You will see — you will see ~~~~~~~

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State Farm Insurance customer May 20, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Harrell’s vast stable of State Farm Insurance clients — his “book of business” — was also given to him by his father; Bobby Harrell didn’t “earn” even one of those clients. Many of those clients fall into one of two categories: (a) those who fear Harrell and thus keep their insurance with his agency; and (b) those who believe Harrell can and will “pull strings” to get above-average claim settlements.

In the last election a filling-station owner in District 114 told me that he let Harrell to install a 5′ x 8′ Harrell sign there because he was “afraid to do otherwise.”

Me, I’ve got my insurance with a “clean” State Farm agent.

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Norma Scok May 20, 2014 at 10:17 pm

WTH is scared of their insurance agent?
Wow.

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State Farm Insurance customer May 20, 2014 at 10:26 pm

That’s right. Afraid of his insurance agent, Rep. Bobby Harrell —

Harbor View Exxon Station
1140 Sam Rittenberg Blvd.
Charleston, SC 29407

(corner of Sam Rittenberg Blvd. and Orange Grove Road)

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Norma Scok May 21, 2014 at 8:53 am

I don’t even know my insurance agent. I’m not even sure I have one. I buy it all online.

Norma Scok May 21, 2014 at 8:56 am

So you’re saying that this guy is selling his Exxon because he’s scared of his insurance agent? Maybe he’s selling it because its the only remaining gas station (in business) that has 3 garage bays for working on cars?

You lost me on this one.

dominick May 21, 2014 at 4:10 pm

remember….the golden rule….he who has the gold rules…..nuff said.

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RHood2 May 20, 2014 at 6:31 pm

I kind of agree with a lot of this. But it is scary when Wil Folks is the responsible adult in any situation
But I patently disagree. Somehow, Dudley was run off. She was a great reporter, missed in the state. But you have never offered any proof of what you say was the stick Harrell used. The threat about withholding the tax exemption.
here’s why I don’t believe that. if a politician who needs a majority of votes in his chamber to get anything done comes into my office and lays down that threat, it is my headline in the newspaper the VERY NEXT DAY. Any decent newspaper.
Or to call off such a threat. Just say wait a second, call in the editor and a reporter with a notepad and tape recorder in hand and say, “Will you repeat what you just said, on the record?”
He can’t back it up without assistance from a majority.
I just don’t believe that was the threat. stop repeating it as if you had facts on your side until YOU PROVE IT.
Your story is so simple to cast doubt upon, it casts doubt on everything else you have to say about Harrell.

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Théophile May 20, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Pierre Manigault gets the understanding (read, “threat”) via Rep. Chip Limehouse, Manigault’s long-time hunting buddy.

The most powerful corrupt politicians like Harrell cover their tracks and leave the threat-making to lesser-profile corrupt politicians like Limehouse.

Believe it.

The tax savings to the Post and Courier is about $10 million annually.

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RHood2 May 21, 2014 at 12:39 am

I won’t believe it without some offer of proof.

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What's that shit on your lip? May 20, 2014 at 9:02 pm

If I’m handing out some free advice to Bobby, I’d start with telling him to buy some cover-up.

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Solomon May 20, 2014 at 9:32 pm

Anita Zucker’s photo appeared recently on a large political post card endorsing and praising Harrell for “job creation.” That was before Judge Manning’s outrageous ruling, throwing justice under the bus. It’ll be interesting to see if Ms. Zucker sells her soul and allows Harrell to use her again.

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Your Days Are Numbered May 21, 2014 at 12:00 am

Bottom line is, Harrell has a serious sickness between his ears. He needs to be in a locked unit of a psychiatric hospital, like his ass licker friend, “anonymous.” The entire state is now award of Harrell the sociopath. His circle is going to crumble soon. And nothing can stop it nor save him. He is over already as he goes down kicking and screaming, acting like a little two year old kid. And as for Jean Toal? She can drink herself to death, for all I care. The woman is a serious alcoholic and a criminal herself. She dishonors the people of South Carolina. No one with her mentality and mindset should be in such a position. The People will see to it that she, too, falls with her friend, Harrell. All of them must be thrown in prison. And when the people are finished with them, they will. They are the enemy of the people of South Carolina. They are the crooks, the liars, and the thieves …. They must be punished – all of them.

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dude May 21, 2014 at 8:16 am

I think Harrell is crooked and inept, but I also think this article was written for three reasons. 1st, for FITS to chime in about how great consultants are; 2nd to make a not so subtle play and offer to Harrell that maybe, oh jeeper walkers maybe, FITS is the consultant Bobby needs, and 3rd to work in deleterious into a story.

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anonymous May 21, 2014 at 8:25 am

SPEAKER HARRELL SLAMS AG WILSON

“Harrell fired back Tuesday, saying that Wilson should appoint a special prosecutor to look into what he calls the attorney general’s own potential Ethics Act violations. The Post and Courier reported in April that Wilson had accepted thousands in over-the-limit campaign contributions and that amendments to his campaign finance reports showed dozens of previously undisclosed donors. Wilson’s campaign has been amending reports and returning contributions that were over the limit, including a lobbyist’s contribution.”

WHAT HARRELL SAID ABOUT WILSON: …”If he actually believes what he wrote in this filing, then he himself is guilty of over 30 criminal violations, including accepting money from lobbyists, accepting money above the legal limit and failing to report a number of items,” Harrell said. “He ought to have a special prosecutor take a look at this.”

BAM! …BA-BAM!….BA-BA-BA-BAM!….

http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20140520/PC1603/140529949

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anonymous May 21, 2014 at 8:43 am

Here’s what AG Wilson should do as a result of his own campaign finance abuses …

1) Wilson should appoint a special prosecutor to investigate his own campaign finance abuses and various political dealings and acknowledge the legitimacy of an inquiry and pledge his cooperation with the special prosecutor and investigation.

2) Wilson should apologize to the individuals smeared by his political machine – and vow to cease all future attacks against Harrell.

3) Wilson should replace existing legal advisors to advise him moving forward.
Until such time that AG Wilson achieves the three items listed above, Wilson will have no credibility in is political quest against Speaker Harrell.

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Harrell Is A Pig Shit May 21, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Harrell is going to have to return to the car wash to clean all the chicken egg goo off of it. HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

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anonymous May 21, 2014 at 8:25 am

SPEAKER HARRELL SLAMS AG WILSON

“Harrell fired back Tuesday, saying that Wilson should appoint a special prosecutor to look into what he calls the attorney general’s own potential Ethics Act violations. The Post and Courier reported in April that Wilson had accepted thousands in over-the-limit campaign contributions and that amendments to his campaign finance reports showed dozens of previously undisclosed donors. Wilson’s campaign has been amending reports and returning contributions that were over the limit, including a lobbyist’s contribution.”

WHAT HARRELL SAID ABOUT WILSON: …”If he actually believes what he wrote in this filing, then he himself is guilty of over 30 criminal violations, including accepting money from lobbyists, accepting money above the legal limit and failing to report a number of items,” Harrell said. “He ought to have a special prosecutor take a look at this.”

BAM! …BA-BAM!….BA-BA-BA-BAM!….

http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20140520/PC1603/140529949

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Jaime Izaks May 21, 2014 at 9:11 am

The thing about Harrell is that… he has some franchise PR skills, that’s why he’s the Speaker. You don’t get there because you’re just a darn good politician.

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Dr. Phil May 22, 2014 at 12:07 am

I like the idea of Mr. Harrell working on his own teeth. Typically a dentist would do this sort of thing but based on what I read about his personality, I say, “Go ahead. Have at it. Atta boy.”

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Native Ink May 22, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Bobby keeps blaming his problems on a conspiracy, but he keeps pointing his finger at a different group of conspirators every week. He just sounds guilty. So Bobby, who is framing you? Alan Wilson? Those jealous of Charleston’s political clout? Libertarians? Quinn?

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