SC

“Penny Tax” Probe: An Update

DETAILS OF ILLEGAL ACTIVITY UNEARTHED … MULTIPLE INVESTIGATIONS FORTHCOMING Chalk another one up for our network of sources … As we reported exclusively last week, there’s been significant motion in the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR) investigation of the Richland County “penny tax” – a new sales tax levy “approved”…

DETAILS OF ILLEGAL ACTIVITY UNEARTHED … MULTIPLE INVESTIGATIONS FORTHCOMING

Chalk another one up for our network of sources …

As we reported exclusively last week, there’s been significant motion in the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR) investigation of the Richland County “penny tax” – a new sales tax levy “approved” via a rigged election in 2012.

In fact we’ve now obtained the letter (.pdf here) from SCDOR director Rick Reames alerting county officials to the state’s initial findings in the probe – which was announced back in April.

Specifically, Reames’ letter said his investigators have discovered “questions of potential public corruption and fraud” as well as “multiple instances of illegal activity by individuals and/ or companies associated” with the tax hike program.

While SCDOR does not investigate corruption and fraud, Reames’ letter makes clear his agency is proceeding with cases against the local government related to the illegal activity it has uncovered.

For example, two specific expenses – a politically correct “small business enterprise program” and a so-called “public information” campaign – are alleged to fall outside the scope of permissible expenses.

RICK REAMES
RICK REAMES

“It is unclear exactly what work has been actually performed as no documentation detailing the work has been provided,” Reames wrote of the latter initiative.

Reames’ letter concluded that Richland County council “has misappropriated a significant amount of (penny tax) revenue and is scheduled to spend millions of additional dollars over the next several years for expenditures falling outside the parameters of the transportation tax laws.”

County leaders “should take action to correct these expenses both prospectively and by reimbursement for previously paid amounts,” Reames advises.

Sources close to the investigation tell us Reames’ letter is just the beginning of his agency’s work on the matter.  In addition to SCDOR’s probe, we’re told the matter has been referred to the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) for criminal investigation and to the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson for prosecution.

What have they been asked to investigate?

According to our sources, there is concern not only regarding the extra-legal appropriation of penny tax revenue (which is what the SCDOR investigation is focused on) but also the manner in which those appropriations were made.  Specifically, we’re told there are links between firms receiving proceeds from the tax and individuals who approved the disbursements.

And while SCDOR has issued a blanket refusal to comment on “ongoing criminal investigations,” we’re told the agency uncovered “multiple examples” of such favor-trading in its forensic audit of the penny tax.

Hopefully SLED and the attorney general will do their job and prosecute these shady deals … although we’re not holding our breath on that.

More to the point: As pleased as we are to see at least one government agency attempting to hold Richland County leaders accountable, the real scandal here remains totally unexplored.

This was a theft, people – a $1.2 billion robbery in which there was clear and unambiguous evidence of voter suppression.

“In all our years of exposing corruption in the Palmetto State, we’ve never seen anything quite like what happened in the run-up to that vote,” we wrote earlier this year.  “Or in the miscarriage of justice which followed it.”

After county residents narrowly rejected this tax hike in 2010, Republican and Democratic leaders of the local legislative delegation took matters into their own hands.  With the approval of S.C. governor Nikki Haley, they  passed a law seizing control of the local election commission and installed their hand-picked puppet as its leader.  This puppet proceeded to rig the election – targeting excessive shortages of voting machines in county precincts that voted against the tax hike two years earlier (possibly working in direct coordination with her intimate relations in the pro-tax movement).

Astoundingly, the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) has refused to launch an investigation.  Not only that, the S.C. Supreme Court (without comment) upheld this rigged election and the puppet who pulled it off got rewarded with a new job and a lifetime pension.

Again, we’re glad to see someone is following the money from the proceeds of this tax increase (an effort we support) … but the real scandal remains the “passage” of the tax in the first place (and the failure of multiple government entities to do anything about it).

Finally, while we’re glad to see reporter John Monk of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper digging into these latest findings, we’d like to remind readers of how far his publication went in terms of cheerleading for this tax hike prior to its “passage.”

***

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30 comments

shifty henry December 15, 2015 at 9:42 am

Keep in mind the term, “Penny Tax”. More from me later on that.

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Superfly December 15, 2015 at 12:00 pm

That’s what Dick Riley called it in 1984, for a 25% increase in the sales tax from 4% to 5%, all for “education”. Hell it’s 9% in many SC cities and counties, once the County Transportation or Education taxes, and the local Hospitality Taxes are included on prepared food and beverages.

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The Colonel (R) December 15, 2015 at 9:43 am

http://s14.postimg.org/peold4u3k/where_the_hand.jpg

Repeating my Christmas Wish:
Just once, I’d like to see one of these “alleged scandals” conclude with a high level perp walk, faces hidden behind embarrassed hands, resignations right before the subpoenas, government employees being pulled over in their government provided autos and dragged out to be “patted down, cuffed and stuffed”. Grim faced agents and auditors shouldering their way through a crowd of the press with “no comment” on their lips and bankers boxes in their hands. Then more embarrassed mid level lackeys and political supporters faces hidden behind their own hands with wrists sporting new stainless steel bracelets. Maybe a frog walk of someone trying to destroy evidence to make it all perfect. What a Christmas that would make!

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shifty henry December 15, 2015 at 9:45 am

+ 1,000 (remember when gangsters wore fedoras and would hide their faces with them?)

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The Colonel (R) December 15, 2015 at 10:00 am

The “gangster fedora head duck to hide my face” perp walk: http://s2.postimg.org/fjcpca4m1/gangster_fedora.jpg

The Infamous “shirt over the head” perp walk: http://s17.postimg.org/avi8g0aa7/Taxi_driver_perp_walk.jpg

The cool “crossed my hands so the cuffs don’t show” perp walk: http://s16.postimg.org/mni1kd3qt/crossed_hands.jpg

The “hooker hoodie up to hide my head” per walk: http://s3.postimg.org/6atbh4m1e/hoodie_walk.jpg

The “damn it I should have stayed in my cell” perp walk: http://s7.postimg.org/s68024ou3/harvey.jpg

The “folder face” perp walk: (AKA, “the legal brief over the face” perp walk) http://s21.postimg.org/s03o6xek7/folder_face.jpg

The “I’m really looking for an ass beating on the way down town” perp walk: http://s22.postimg.org/rnv0m9nsh/perp_53_jpg.jpg

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shifty henry December 15, 2015 at 11:07 am

super-good collection..!!
I’m still all for public flogging, tarring and feathering….

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Bible Thumper December 15, 2015 at 10:44 am

My family has been out of the crime business for a while longer. They mockingly removed their beaver felt bowler hats cocked at an angle when they stood before bought judges. Not much has changed. Just the fashions.

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Michael J. Stefonick December 15, 2015 at 11:10 am

You are correct. BOUGHT JUDGES.

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Victorious Secret December 15, 2015 at 10:00 am

Indeed!

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The Colonel (R) December 15, 2015 at 9:45 am

Oh, as for Mr Reames’ picture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BNkt0pnejk

One of my resolutions for the New Year is to stop making fun of the people in pictures that Will posts but I’m not really planning to keep it…

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mamatiger92 December 15, 2015 at 10:12 am

“Now, just imagine you’re weightless, in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by tiny little seahorses.”

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Hispan Sllutzze December 15, 2015 at 10:07 am

This is how you do the ‘penny tax’ and make EVERYBODY contribute!

Horry County is anticipating $21 million in excess funds from the 2006 one-cent sales tax referendum that raised $425 million for road improvements throughout the county.

An unprecedented 61 percent of voters in 2006 opted to add a penny to purchases made from May 2007 to May 2014 to afford the Road Improvement Development Effort II, or RIDE II program. RIDE II was the coordinated effort that bought such projects as the Aynor overpass, the U.S. 17 Bypass/S.C. 707 bridge that is currently under construction, the extension of S.C. 31 to near the Georgetown County line, 100 miles of paved roads in the county, and much more.

The law in 2006 stated the county could collect the tax for seven full years or until it reached $425 million, whichever came first. The county monitored the tax through state receipts and chose to collect the tax through seven years.

Read more here: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/article16676726.html#storylink=cpy

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Diogenes December 15, 2015 at 10:12 am

….when pigs fly…

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Billy Lumbergh December 15, 2015 at 10:33 am

I’m still not convinced it actually passed.

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Fecal Matters December 15, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Oh it passed, with the help of Lillian McBride.

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erneba December 15, 2015 at 10:52 am

“but the real scandal remains the
“passage” of the tax in the first place (and the failure of multiple
government entities to do anything about it).”

The City of Columbia intentionally set out to minimize the voting impact of certain constituents that probably would have been paying a substantial portion of the new tax.

“This was a theft, people – a $1.2 billion robbery in which there was clear and unambiguous evidence of voter suppression.”

It certainly was theft, plain and simple, and the people responsible for it remain unindicted.
If this had been an election featuring a tax break for affluent residences, and voting machines were withdrawn from the poor sections of Columbia, the Obama Justice Department would have been down here before the ballot boxes were retrieved and counted.

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Michael J. Stefonick December 15, 2015 at 11:09 am

While SCDOR does not investigate corruption and fraud, Reames’ letter makes clear his agency is proceeding with cases against the local government related to the illegal activity it has uncovered.
Read more at https://www.fitsnews.com/2015/12/15/penny-tax-probe-an-update/#xqEZRI8TGF8e0RgT.99. THE FBI loves bringing these types down. Go get them FBI.

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In the Know December 15, 2015 at 11:45 am

Reames is reportedly being eyed for AG when Wilson runs for Gov. Is this all a set up?

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jimlewisowb December 15, 2015 at 12:36 pm Reply
major major December 15, 2015 at 1:35 pm

I’m shocked–SHOCKED!–to hear there is corruption in Richland county government.

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Squishy123 December 15, 2015 at 3:32 pm

What are the odds on the lawyer paid $250,000 to draft the paperwork also has a job in the State House. What are the odds on the firms being paid $300,000 are owned by someone who also has a job in the State House.

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Soft Sigh from Hell December 15, 2015 at 6:05 pm

When do we get the names of these parasites?

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Yelsewh December 15, 2015 at 7:26 pm

I wanna FINALLY see some black officials in handcuffs, preferably Mayor T-Bone. Who’s with me?

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J December 15, 2015 at 8:22 pm

Negro politicians in Richland County don’t go to jail

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HisSloganNewTwist December 16, 2015 at 9:59 am

Yes, Nigger Mayor!!!

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Suckers December 15, 2015 at 8:22 pm

This is the home of Lillian McBride. Nothing new here.

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Anon December 16, 2015 at 5:00 am

OK Fits — Here’s the racket — A bunch of cronies in Richland County work together to support massive tax increases, then benefit from those tax increases.

For example, Heyward Bannister of BANCO/Bannister Co. “ran the successful campaign for Richland County’s sales tax for transportation.” http://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/election/article14440223.html

Now it’s revealed that Bannister’s company reaped at least $300K from this program: http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article49848250.html

Check out some of the other names in the above two articles — Rick Ott, an executive with M.B. Kahn Construction Co. — was apparently a big campaigner to raise our taxes.. And, now it turns out — surprise, surprise — that a “$50 million program development contract [was] awarded in July 2014 to the team of ICA Engineering, **** MB Kahn Construction Co.**** and Brownstone Construction Co.”

DING DING DING – those aren’t Xmas bells – those are the bells going off in your head when you figure out the racket:

1. Get the government to start a campaign to raise taxes. (For the library expansion “Campaign funds will be donated, Ott said. No public money will be spent.” Now I would love to see who donated those campaign funds!”)

2. Get the government to award you and your buddies contracts that result from those taxes.

It’s not just the penny tax – this is a regular, system. Looks like this was applied to the Penny Tax for transportation, library expansion, etc.:

We all gotta make a living, right?

(Also, I thought Richard Quinn was supposed to be a Republican.. why is he pushing these big tax increases.. oh, yeah, getting paid.) FOLLOW THE MONEY, FITS! YOU NEED TO FOIA THE CRAP OUTTA THIS!!!! LOOK AT THE LIBRARY CAMPAIGN, TOO!

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Gfd December 16, 2015 at 10:49 am

Rick Quinn is and has always been a fat piece of shit! Went to HS with him and could not stand the fucker!

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Spawn of Fitz December 16, 2015 at 5:14 am

Can’t make this up — big corporate clients pay Campbell Consulting to lobby Richland County, then Richland County pays the same lobbying firm $323,974.04? They certainly do “influence the way government thinks.” http://www.thecampbellconsultinggroup.net/

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