SC

The $40,000 Taxpayer-Funded Tailgate Party?

DID LAWMAKERS SCHEDULE “EMERGENCY” LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO COINCIDE WITH FOOTBALL GAME? Ever since embattled S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell called for a special session of the lower chamber of the state’s legislative branch earlier this month, Palmetto politicos have been scratching their heads trying to figure out one…

DID LAWMAKERS SCHEDULE “EMERGENCY” LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO COINCIDE WITH FOOTBALL GAME?

Ever since embattled S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell called for a special session of the lower chamber of the state’s legislative branch earlier this month, Palmetto politicos have been scratching their heads trying to figure out one thing …

“Why?”

The “Republican-controlled” S.C. House has only two pieces of outstanding business on its agenda – a pair of wholly inconsequential vetoes from the desk of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley (whose veto pen has set a new standard for anemia).

Even “Republican” lawmakers – including former majority leader Jimmy Merrill – have publicly speculated as to why taxpayers would be forced to pick up the $40,000 tab to deal with the two items.

What sort of earth-shattering legislation are we dealing with to justify such an expense?  Well, one of Haley’s vetoes struck down a law seeking to give librarians more authority in dealing with disruptive patrons.  Yeah …

The other struck down a law that would have permitted a tax hike in Horry County (this second veto was especially surprising seeing as Haley previously signed legislation authorizing up to $1.7 billion in local tax hikes).

Anyway, multiple lawmakers tell FITS they suspect another motivation behind the “emergency” session – a free trip to Columbia, S.C. for legislators to attend the University of South Carolina’s season-opening football game against Texas A&M.

That contest is scheduled to kickoff at 6:00 p.m. EDT on August 28 – one day after lawmakers convene for their “emergency” session.  That means those who attend the session will be able to pass along at least some of their game-related travel expenses to you, the taxpayers.

In addition to getting free lodging the night before the game, lawmakers would receive $131 apiece in “per diem” costs for food and other expenses on their trip.  Oh, and let’s not forget the discounted club-level football tickets they receive from the University – which relies on their votes to support its $1 billion-plus budget (and the ever-escalating salary of its president).

Lawmakers and their spouses (or other “special friends”) are allotted tickets to attend every USC home game – sitting in choice seats located in the covered “club” section in the east stands at Williams-Brice Stadium.  The school also facilitates lawmakers’ ability to purchase road game tickets and postseason tickets that are not available to the general public.

Extra tickets are also made available for lawmakers to purchase based on their individual requests.

Oh, and lawmakers routinely pay for these discounted tickets with campaign funds – yet another example of totally inappropriate ethical behavior.

“It’s not ‘all-expenses paid’ but it’s a hefty discount,” one lawmaker who is not returning for the special session told FITS.  “The rooms, the food, the tickets – you can’t beat that deal!”

Well … in years past you could. That’s because Gamecock football was – for more than a century, actually – the definition of mediocrity (which is to say it operated at a slightly higher level of competitiveness than the state itself).

But that’s changed in the last four years, as head coach Steve Spurrier has turned the Gamecock program into a national powerhouse – rattling off an SEC East championship in 2010 and three consecutive 11-win seasons and Top Ten finishes from 2011-13.

Now Gamecock football is the hottest ticket in town … and lawmakers appear to be jumping at the chance to celebrate the 2014 kickoff on your dime.

Pic: Travis Bell Photography

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26 comments

The Colonel August 20, 2014 at 7:59 pm

“…DID LAWMAKERS SCHEDULE “EMERGENCY” LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO COINCIDE WIHT FOOTBALL GAME…”

I think they’re having a special session to discuss what a failure the USC “J School” is.

Reply
Will Folks aka Sic August 20, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Hey I went there! Oh wait … that was the point of your comment, wasn’t it ;)

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The Colonel August 20, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Read your sub headline again.

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Scooter August 20, 2014 at 9:30 pm

We can tell. You didn’t have to inform us.

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Deo Vindice SC August 20, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Don’t feel so bad Colonel, it was a good time for all involved. You need to chill !

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TontoBubbaGoldstein August 20, 2014 at 8:32 pm

DID LAWMAKERS SCHEDULE “EMERGENCY” LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO COINCIDE WIHT FOOTBALL GAME?

What teh hell?

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euwe max August 20, 2014 at 11:14 pm

I’ve come to expect much more from you.. I crave the deer in the headlights with a high powered rifle.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein August 21, 2014 at 6:00 am

Oh, come on now.

The “teh” juxtaposed against FITS’S “WIHT” is epic!

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euwe max August 21, 2014 at 9:08 am

I understand, but don’t you realize how close to “I pown you” that is?

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The pigs are never sated August 20, 2014 at 8:46 pm

Someone should wander the parking lots with a camera in hand and interview all the pols partying on our dollar and post it on youtube.

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Former Colleague August 20, 2014 at 9:10 pm

hi curtis!!!

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Smirks August 21, 2014 at 8:27 am

Too bad they don’t feel shame or that might actually scare them.

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Deo Vindice SC August 20, 2014 at 8:51 pm

I even had a sexual time at the game, thanks Nikki.

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Beartrkkr August 20, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Politicians being self serving? Surely you jest.

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euwe max August 20, 2014 at 11:13 pm

They couldn’t master a skillet or a microwave, much less serve themselves.

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Deo Vindice SC August 20, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Dam near best I ever had.

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Manray August 20, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Is this a more egregious waste of taxpayers’ money than usual? We in SC should undertake a social and political experiment. Let’s have two years with no state legislature and no governor. Think of the money we would save. We may even fix the roads and bridges. Could we be any worse off?

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Elfego August 20, 2014 at 10:36 pm

I am a Carolina fan. Please tell me when Carolina won the Eastern Championship! Did they not tie Georgia and Georgia won it because they beat Carolina?

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easterndumbfuckistan August 20, 2014 at 10:50 pm

Carolina won the SEC East in 2010 and lost to Auburn in the SEC Championship game.
http://www.gamecocksonline.com/sports/m-footbl/recaps/111310aaa.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_SEC_Championship_Game

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TontoBubbaGoldstein August 21, 2014 at 6:05 am

Lots of Sakerlina fans forget that 2010 East Championship due to the FSU/Clemson2013-style beatdown that the WarTigerEagle put on y’all in the SECCG.

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater….

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euwe max August 20, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Johnsonville Beer Brats… sizzling, grilled to perfection… stab one with a fork and dip it in yellow mustard… BAM!

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delbert norquest August 21, 2014 at 4:45 am

Those bitches at the library are prone to menstral attacks and they don’t need more authority. signed- disruptive patron

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tomstickler August 21, 2014 at 9:36 am

|..| Gig ’em Aggies!

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whatever August 21, 2014 at 10:30 pm

“rattling off an SEC East championship in 2010 and three consecutive 11-win seasons and Top Ten finishes from 2011-13.”

Alabama mouth, Vanderbilt trophy case…

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Manray August 21, 2014 at 10:40 am

Of course there will be large Tea Party rallies protesting this wanton waste of taxpayers’ money? Right?

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Look Into It September 8, 2014 at 8:37 am

This is in addition to the football and race tickets that Trey Walker sprinkles — for free — to legislative staffers who view themselves as immune from State ethics laws.

Reply

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