SC

SLED Releases Bobby Harrell Report

HUGE CHUNKS OF REPORT ARE REDACTED, SOURCES CITE “ONGOING INVESTIGATIONS” By FITSNEWS || It makes little difference now that former S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell has pleaded guilty to six of nine public corruption counts – and resigned his office – but for those of you keeping score…

HUGE CHUNKS OF REPORT ARE REDACTED, SOURCES CITE “ONGOING INVESTIGATIONS”

By FITSNEWS || It makes little difference now that former S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell has pleaded guilty to six of nine public corruption counts – and resigned his office – but for those of you keeping score at home, the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) released the investigative report that formed the basis of Harrell’s prosecution this week.

The forty-two page document – obtained my multiple media outlets from SLED under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) – details the agency’s pursuit of the complaint forwarded to them by S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson in February of 2013.

The report barely touches on allegations of influence peddling made against Harrell regarding his pharmaceutical business – which was alleged to have received preferential treatment from state government.  Instead, the report focuses almost entirely on campaign expenditures – particularly those related to travel.

In September 2012, reporter Renee Dudley of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier ran a story alleging Harrell reimbursed himself from his campaign account for dubious flight-related expenses (Harrell is a pilot). How much? More than $325,000.

In the wake of the Dudley report, the S.C. Policy Council – a limited government think tank based in Columbia, S.C. – submitted a formal complaint against Harrell to Wilson’s office that cited a variety of alleged offenses.  This complaint formed the basis of the SLED report.

Harrell has framed his campaign finance violations as a “fundamental disagreement over the proper use of a campaign account to fly a private aircraft to conduct state and campaign business.”  His critics have accused him of “theft.”

Of interest?  The final nine pages of the report are blacked out – which a source close to the agency tells FITS is “due to ongoing investigations.”

That’s right … “investigations.” Plural.

Also of interest? The redactions in the report begin shortly after mention is made of India Null – the former director of a political action committee (PAC) affiliated with Harrell.  Null is rumored to be among the “star witnesses” of a joint federal-state investigation into corruption at the S.C. State House.

FITS was the first website to report on the existence of the federal-state investigation – way back on September 15.  Since then we’ve published multiple follow-up reports (HEREHEREHEREHERE, HERE, HERE and HERE).

As part of his plea agreement with prosecutors, Harrell agreed to a three-year probationary period during which he will not seek elected office.  He also agreed to cooperate with investigators during their pursuit of other corruption cases.

Harrell’s case was the biggest political soap opera of the year – dominating headlines for months after Wilson referred the case to a statewide grand jury back in January.  In May, an ethically compromised circuit court judge ruled that Wilson had to shut down his probe and let a corrupt panel of S.C. House members handle the investigation (the same legislative panel that whitewashed S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley‘s ethics scandal two years ago).

Wilson blasted that ruling – joining a chorus of critics of this corrupt self-policing mechanism.

“There is absolutely no way this case will get a fair hearing in the S.C. House of Representatives,” he told FITS at the time.

In July, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled that Wilson’s office had the authority to investigate Harrell – although it did refer the question of whether Wilson could remain on the case back to the lower court.  Months later, however, it was revealed that Wilson had directed another prosecutor – first circuit solicitor David Pascoe – to take over the case.

BOBBY HARRELL SLED REPORT (.pdf)

Pic: Travis Bell Photography

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32 comments

Joe the Plumber November 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm

When is the little bastard going to turn in his “Speaker of the House” license plates and go to DMV and stand in line for new ones — like us commoners (non-criminals)?

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Another Cover Up November 25, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Report not only redacted – but purged of other things. Go to the prosecutors office and ask to see his “true” copy.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein November 25, 2014 at 1:18 pm

The forty-two page document – obtained my multiple media outlets…

Damn sorry to hear that, Will.
Sometimes those uppity documents act as if they are above the law.
Sure hope you can figure out a way to get your media outlets back…..

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Barry November 25, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Nikki Haleys name is in there…haha

Michelins chairman calls SC roads a disgrace. .

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Crooner November 25, 2014 at 1:52 pm

One would think a tire manufacturer would be grateful for our roads.

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mamatiger92 November 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm

+1

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Soft Sigh from Hell November 25, 2014 at 7:28 pm

That crossed my mind too.

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Debbie November 26, 2014 at 7:30 am

Thats not his point shipping their products using our lousy road systems was his point. Basically political leaders that dont care enough to fund safe roads for its citizens means our leaders are lousy was.

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Scooter November 26, 2014 at 10:08 pm

It must not matter. They are opening a new facility in Piedmont.
I guess those tax breaks are too much to turn down. SC could use that money for roads. He had to run his mouth and blame everyone else rather than let Michlin do its part.

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grandtangosuglydog November 25, 2014 at 1:40 pm

The poster boy for South Carolina Politics… hey at least it wasnt a “wide stance” thingy in an airport bathroom.

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Nölff November 25, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Take him to the Columbia Detention Center. Let him stay there for a while and see what it’s like.

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Utah November 25, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Of interest, he took state per diem & mileage reimbursement AND had the campaign reimburse him for the same. Also couldn’t help but note the purchase at an Apple store for about $1500 and a later note indicating Harrell’s son had an apple computer.

What a scumbag.

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Squishy123 November 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm

How many legislators who live within 25 miles of the statehouse take a per diem payment?

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MUSC pharmacist November 25, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Harrell told SLED he used his legislative stationary to

“…make sure that the hospitals knew he was contacting them as a private business owner and not in his official capacity as Speaker of the House.”

What nonsense.

WE sure got the message — Palmetto State Pharmaceuticals / Rep. Harrell is our new “preferred provider.” No questions to be asked.

SLED pg. 9 —

In Speaker Harrell’s interview (Ref Att. 6), he provided the following information:

Speaker Harrell did send a solicitation letter to different SC hospitals seeking business for PSP. He mentioned, in the letter, his position as Speaker of the SC House of Representatives only to make sure that the hospitals knew he was contacting them as a private business owner and not in his official capacity as Speaker of the House. He knew that his name alone was associated with being the Speaker of the House, so he felt he should make it clear that he was sending the letter as a private businessman and not as Speaker.

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Bible Thumper November 25, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Did Harrell include a wink ;-/ in this letter?

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Dave Chappelle I'm Rick James November 25, 2014 at 2:29 pm

“[F]or those of you keeping score at home.”

No one is keeping score at home, Will. We pay attention, we think, and we act. This is clearly your favorite line. Will, I dare you to write three articles without using this phrase.

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Buz Martin November 25, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Do you feel personally affronted by that little trope?

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Mike at the Beach November 27, 2014 at 2:21 am

As a captain in the Grammar Police, I commend you and up-vote you for no reason other than your correct and timely use of the word “trope.” The Queen’s English lives…

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Bubba November 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Because I’m a caring person, I’m sending Bobby a jar of Vaseline for Xmas.

It’ll be part of a larger “prison care” package I’ll be sending him.

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you know me November 25, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Don’t forget the soap on a rope .

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Karl November 25, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Give it to his wife — I hope she starts fucking his landscaping crew while he’s away.

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Bobby = son-the-bum November 25, 2014 at 3:08 pm

His State Farm office on Rivers Ave. in N. Charleston has a new name on it. Old man Harrell who started it and got all the customers, must be real proud of his son-the-bum.

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Timmy Tebow November 25, 2014 at 4:09 pm

who’s name is on it now?

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jimlewisowb November 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Fuck’em, Fuck’em All, LLC

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Out of jurisdiction November 25, 2014 at 9:40 pm

It’s a Cayman Island corporation.

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Jay November 26, 2014 at 8:25 am

Too bad the links in the SLED document won’t allow people to see the attachments and the MOI’s….

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Acts 20:35 November 26, 2014 at 9:55 am

Today’s Post & Courier, front page:

LEFT – “A feast of kindness; Charleston Basket Brigade delivers Thanksgiving dinner to 3,000”

RIGHT – “Report explains Harrell’s undoing. details misuse of campaign funds —
– trips on his personal airplane to a Harry Potter attraction in Orlando
– trip Harrell, his wife and daughter to Martha’s Vineyard for $3,880
– $3,874 to a baseball tournament to ‘see and be seen by constituents’
– home setup for Harrell’s wife’s new computer, reconnecting Harrell’s daughter Nintendo Wii console to the house wireless network, and recovering data from Harrell’s son’s dead hard drive.”

A remarkable contrast.

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Philip Branton November 26, 2014 at 10:09 am

Dear Bobby Harrell………

Just look at this comment section….really study it. What do you hear..? What is not being told in this comment section or this article..? From a social media and informative flow analysis “paradym”, the timing of all this offers you a great moment of media “counter-offensive” terrain. Bobby…this is what YOU need to do…….

1) Call the Post and Courier and Fitsnews to set up an interview and record the entire moment on youtube……

2) Point blank tell them that you are going to submit an OP-Ed to be run after your interview to settle any additional questions that arise that may be asked in a court of law..

3) During the interview…..ask to WORK as a contributor to FITSNEWS….

4) During the interview…….make sure you remind viewers that you are an insurance man and that you know full well how documentation matters in any circumstance. How can insurance claims be settled without proper documentation.

5) During the interview…..use your GEICO insurance competitor ads to highlight just how UN-responsive our state website is for voters and taxpayers..!! How transparent is that website..? Heck, look how long it took for ALAN Wilson to actually get state information to use against you in this indictment..!! Talk about Freedom of Information requests….. Geez..! (Roll your eyes and ask how long it takes a University to find 30 Million in missing “transportation” funds..?)

6) Come clean as being a double agent and using your information awareness to actually bring this to the attention of tax payers all across our state. Heck, look into the camera and ask….”Do citizens really think I want to live in a CHINESE state…!?”

7) Use your “lobby” chart….to actually illustrate how 900 Million in BOEING funding was years in the making…and did not happen overnight. Look into the camera and ask Alan Wilson how 900 Million to a corporation without the vote of the taxpayers is not worse than using funds that you have from your campaign account to fly to a “meeting”. Is Alan Wilson going to indict BOEING…..MAYOR SUMMEY…TIM SCOTT……Lindsey Graham……Jim Clyburn……and MAYOR Riley….?? Any insurance man in the lowcountry can see the payoff with that “development”..!?

8) Be a champion for our state’s media and look at your interviewers and tell them YOU are pulling for them and that you can only do so much..!@!

9) Be a champion for your fellow lawmakers and look into the camera and say your not ashamed of using campaign donations to fund a plane trip that may be against the LAW but who writes the LAWS..? How else are you going to get media “smoke” to put out the information fires in the STATE House..? Ashley Landess can only pull out so much hair..!!

10) Ask your interviewers if they know how their leadership or AD sponsors (media campaign editors) actually benefit from their “campaign accounts”..? Do readers or stockholders understand who benefits from the Post and Courier SQUARE..? Do readers understand how a landfill can be used to fund a “campaign”……?

11) Boldly tell how this state can be so much better than it can be but how good a job does our state’s media do in telling readers what is really going on..!! How long does it take…? Apple can come out with a new phone every 6 months but we are still only using CARS with fossil OIL that our sons and daughters and fellow HUMANS are getting killed for..?

12) Bobby its up to YOU………….you can squirrel up and join a lobby group or you can………..stand up and fight…!!! Bobby…your an insurance man…you understand RISK…!!

13)……….WIN……..win Bobby…….WIN..!!

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We Want More Heads November 26, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Jean Toal must be hung. Refusing to hang her has serious ramifications. The law says she must be punished.

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CorruptionInColumbia November 26, 2014 at 5:36 pm

That is something only her urologist and her bed partners (thankfully) know for sure.

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Dolph November 26, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Go to hell, you crooked bastard.

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Ashamed in Charleston November 26, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Robert Ford, our criminal, former state senator from Charleston, was in Publix tonight.

Seeing him made me think of Bobby Harrell, our criminal, former state representative from Charleston.

And I thought, “These two pieces of stinking shit came from the same asshole.”

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