Palmetto Judicial Nepotism Story Expands

ISSUE FRONT AND CENTER IN PALMETTO POLITICS … AGAIN || By FITSNEWS || We dogged out the Palmetto State’s mainstream media pretty hard this week – and deservedly so.  But evidently our reporting about a controversial South Carolina judicial race – one dominated by allegations of nepotism – conformed to their…


|| By FITSNEWS || We dogged out the Palmetto State’s mainstream media pretty hard this week – and deservedly so.  But evidently our reporting about a controversial South Carolina judicial race – one dominated by allegations of nepotism – conformed to their current definition of “news.”

Our story on the battle between incumbent administrative law judge Carolyn Matthews and Bill Funderburk (husband of S.C. Rep. Laurie Slade Funderburk) was all the buzz at the S.C. State House this week … and with good reason.

“All the (representatives) and judges are talking about it,” one lawmaker told us.

“You’re the hot topic among judicial candidates,” a state judge confirmed.

“Media (are) poking around on your law judge story,” a lobbyist alerted us.

Indeed they are “poking around” – in fact one outlet has already filed a story on the race.

“No state law bars the spouse of a lawmaker from running for judge, but the drama unfolding in the (Matthews v. Funderburk) contest has lawmakers wincing at the fight for the seat and how it will reflect on them,” Jamie Self of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper reported.

That’s correct …

As we noted in our initial reporting on this contest, lawmakers are especially sensitive to the nepotism issue given the cloud of corruption currently hanging over the S.C. State House.  In fact they’ve been making lots of noise on the issue of “ethics reform” in an effort to get this cloud to move on … although the bills they (and governor Nikki Haley) have advanced are terrible.

The election of a lawmakers’ spouse?  That would seem to signal that “business as usual” is alive and well in the Palmetto State … which has seen numerous instances of such familial self-serving in recent years.

Beth Bernstein – one of the State House’s foremost ethics advocates (and a supporter of Matthews) – told FITS the election of Funderburk could set a “terrible precedent” for future judicial races.

“It’s a negative reflection on the institution at time when the public is looking to us for positive leadership and real results on ethics reform,” Bernstein told FITS. “It’s not the message we need to be sending.”

She’s absolutely correct … but lawmakers are likely to elect Funderburk anyway.

In fact one lawmaker told us the rural attorney had “at least a twenty-vote lead.”

What gives?

It’s simple: Legislators don’t want to vote against one of their own because … for lack of a better term … favor-trading is a two-way street.

Frankly, this is yet another reason why the S.C. General Assembly should enact draconian new restrictions on family members receiving state appointments.  Oh, and get rid of the current corrupt judicial selection process.  South Carolina is the only state in America in which the legislative branch selects judicial candidates for election – and then votes on them.  Which leads to rampant corruption.

Will things ever change?


Don’t bet on it …


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southmauldin January 30, 2015 at 9:43 am

This is the kind of crap that makes me hate politicians, judges and lawyers. And of course, Gene Toal, that dude in the denim shirts that runs the whole thing.

Give the slush a break January 30, 2015 at 9:53 am

Dude, you just have to get a few drinks in her(which isn’t very hard), before you’ll come around.

She’s like a mullet, party in the back, all business up front. (even if it’s funny business)

Just don’t drive home with her.

Justice league January 30, 2015 at 9:56 am

You mean Jean Toal?

Smirks January 30, 2015 at 10:21 am Reply
nitrat January 30, 2015 at 11:25 am

Maybe, a French man.

Nevermore January 30, 2015 at 9:55 am

Jean Toal was working the House floor on Thursday to get support for Matthews and a woman running for a circuit court seat, so it’s not just a nepotism problem, it’s a separation of powers problem.

nitrat January 30, 2015 at 11:24 am

THAT is the kind of big story that the establishment media should to covering.

FastEddy23 January 30, 2015 at 9:56 am

Of course you guys could always institute recall proceedings … Of, wait! … You don’t have any.

But, I’m betting something like it could be floated in your “ethics” committees. … ;-}

Rut Row January 30, 2015 at 12:11 pm

The legislatures each time a recall bill has been proposed, they shut it down. But there is a way to ram it down their fucking throats. And it needs to be done. Fuck them all. Fuck everyone of them. They are a gang of criminals, I tell you. And the citizens have had it with them.

FastEddy23 January 30, 2015 at 1:02 pm

“The legislatures each time a recall bill has been proposed, they shut it down. …”

Unless they hear from the people, the voters, the taxpayers of South Carolina, of course, the greedy, taxsucking, poli-wog, power grabbers would shut such down.

“… They are a gang of criminals, I tell you. And the citizens have had it with them. …”

… all the more reason …

FastEddy23 January 30, 2015 at 6:32 pm

Re: Recall: The way it is done in England, the designated legislative body is presented with a report from an ethics committee and the designated legislative body then offers a vote of “no confidence” or not. Usually the offending party is given the opportunity to resign, or bring it to a special election vote.

You all do have an ethics committee, right?

Nölff January 30, 2015 at 10:03 am

Nepotism is rampant all over the board. Nationally I’m growing tired off politicans with the last name of Bush and Clinton. Let’s see, we have: Hillary (spouse), G.W Bush (son of Bush Sr.), Jeb (Sibling of G.W. Bush and son of Bush Sr.). State wide?… Haley’s Daughter, Jean Heffer Toal, The Funderburks… There’s no doubt that there’s more, but that’s all that came to my head for now.

No real qualifications… They just keep it in the royal family. America is supposed to be rid of Kings and Queens a long time ago.

Dave Chappelle I'm Rick James January 30, 2015 at 10:08 am

+10 –> Today’s winner!

You are exactly right! I couldn’t care less what F’ing party they “claim” to be from. The bottom line is we’ve seen the “Bush Dynasty” and the “Clinton Dynasty”

How in the world could anyone want to sign up for more of either?

Don't be bitter! January 30, 2015 at 10:10 am

Wait, you’re saying taking a dick from Bill Clinton isn’t qualification enough to run the country?

I’m going to let Jennifer Flowers know that.

Also, I take exception with your Bush example. Who else was a better successor to Bush #1, former CIA head, than his cocaine using son that barely made it out of the Guard?

I mean, the CIA is all about the drug running, Bush #2 seems the perfect successor to me. Plus he was able to relate to the common man by his calm demeanor during 9/11 while reading “My Pet Goat”.

How can we possibly go wrong with his brother next?

Tunes'n'News January 30, 2015 at 10:17 am

As slimy as the process of “running” for a judicial spot is now, it is actually a LOT better than it used to be. Yes, that is hard to imagine.

Rut Row January 30, 2015 at 12:15 pm

No its not. Its being done the same way. Ever heard of the internet? Blogs? Social Media? One person can easily reach out to tens of millions of people with a few mere keystrokes.

Tunes'n'News January 30, 2015 at 2:25 pm

My point was the Judicial Merit Selection Commission has caused at least some completely unqualified people to to be excluded from consideration by setting some sort of a baseline. The pick me, pick me begging/lobbying and horse trading amongst legislators does continue. Just what was your point about the internet? I think I’ve heard of it and used it once or twice.

anonymous January 30, 2015 at 10:00 pm

The JMSC let Jean Toal be declared qualified again when each and everyone had a portfolio on her corruption sitting in their laps. Grow up, T’n N.

RogueElephant January 30, 2015 at 10:38 am

I know a lot on here will disagree but I still say judges should be elected by the people .At least it would give the voters a chance to get bad judges out. There isn’t any system that is without problems but at least their record would be on display for all to see and vote accordingly. What we have here now is bought and paid for lawyers, judges and politicians. That seems to be the worst system I can think of. Nomination by the gov. and advice and consent of the senate would be next. But the crooks seem to always land on their feet.

nitrat January 30, 2015 at 11:19 am

Why do you think that SC voters would do one bit better electing judges than they do electing politicians?
What information would be in the ‘record’ of a judicial candidate, particularly one who has never been on the bench, that you see as being helpful to a voter in evaluating someone running for judge?
I just keep going back to the fact that just before the SCGOP primary in 2010 it came out that Nikki Haley had never paid any kind of local, state or federal tax, including employee withholding on time and had been subjected to liens and fines that greatly increased what she had to pay in the end. I know some people said that’s just the way that it’s done. But, since I have never paid a tax late, I don’t get that.
But, why in the world would people vote for someone running to be the chief executive of a state who could not manage their personal and business finances any better than that? So, I would not be surprised if SC voters elected anything short of an axe murderer to the judiciary and would not be particularly surprised if they did that if the axe murderer praised God and talked about how he/she had been saved.

Rut Row January 30, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Don’t you even understand how the corrupt politicians and corrupt lawyers bully and intimidate the [major] news outlets in this State???? Obviously, not. Get a clue, dude. But even threatening the main stream media in this state doesn’t necessarily work anymore when you have Sic on the backs of these gangsters in politics. Have I fought and exposed these tyrants in government before? You better believe it. And I sent them off with their tails between their legs, too.

Rut Row January 30, 2015 at 12:20 pm

You’re a good man. One with common sense who demands respect.
Kudos to you, sir.

Hell Yeah January 30, 2015 at 10:46 am

Funderburk will probably still win, but if the spotlight wasn’t shown on the race the cockroaches would have voted him in and gone about their day. Now they are scurrying to figure out how to defend their vote. Boys, it looks as if we have a helluva cat fight on our hands. Funderburk v. Bernstein. How ’bout we give them some bikinis and put a mud wraslin’ pit in the chamber lobby!

Rut Row January 30, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Massive numbers of citizens are being told what is going on, and let me say – they are PISSED OFF. The more pissed off they are, the more they tell others. SHIT is going to hit the fucking fan soon. The people of South Carolina are going to hang these lowlife crooks in government. They drew the last straw. Everybody sees AG Wilson and US Atty Nettles are a bunch of smoke blowers, too.
They’ve all angered the masses. And its growing into one hell of a big Boogie Man that the corrupt scums and their cronies can never shut up, shut down, nor destroy. Can we say their days are numbered now?

Diogenes January 30, 2015 at 2:29 pm

When is this great public public eruption and revulsion toward officeholders going to materialize? It sure did not manifest itself three months ago in the general election or eight months ago in the primaries:
Of 124 state House of Reps–two incumbents lost
US House: No incumbents lost
US Senate: no Incumbents lost
SC Constitional officers: None lost
The short answer to your question Is, as long as you have uninformed, Ill-informed, apathetic, South Carolinians, nothing will ever change. I hope that you are right, but “if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you will keep getting what you’ve been getting.”

Stand up for right January 30, 2015 at 2:42 pm

This is completely unacceptable. It is illegal for a legislator to run for a judgeship because of the undue influence and pressure it puts on fellow legislators. Of course, the spouse of a legislator should be disqualified for the same reason. It is the exact same pressure. Legislators have actually admitted (off the record) that they feel like they “have to vote” for the spouse. We are all affected by the rulings of the ALC, and the election should not be decided this way. Every legislator who votes for nepotism over an incumbent who conducts fair hearings and writes excellent decisions should be held accountable. Were it not for being the husband of a legislator, Funderburk would not have a chance. I hope the legislators will grow a backbone and stand up for Matthews.

Don January 30, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Thanks for breaking the story first. Will, you piss me off a good bit, but damn if you ain’t first on a whole lot of news….and good news too!

Easy Winner January 30, 2015 at 5:06 pm

File a class action against the general assembly, and in the complaint demand all legal fees for doing so.

Lobeco January 30, 2015 at 10:06 pm

Toal is working for Matthews and Gee. That enough should be sufficient cause to vote against them. Sic’s friends Tom Davis’, Wes Hayes’ and Chip Campsen’s votes will be closely watched. We have a list of 24 House members we suspect paid off by Harrell for Toal, we are also watching. Alleged Republicans (well, 12 are Democrats in the House) who follow the Queen Jean like she is their pied piper.


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