2018 GUBERNATORIAL FRONTRUNNER HAS A PROBLEM …
As S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson ramps up his campaign for governor of South Carolina in 2018, he’s facing a major perception problem.
A year ago, Wilson’s public image was that of an uncompromising crusader against corruption …
A year ago, Wilson was the guy who – against fierce institutional opposition – successfully brought down powerful S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell on ethics charges. We celebrated Wilson’s exploits at the time, believing he was serious about rooting out self-dealing at the S.C. State House.
And even though it was another prosecutor who ultimately made the case against Harrell, Wilson was the one who took the credit.
What a difference a year makes …
Earlier this year, Wilson punted on an ongoing probe of South Carolina lawmakers – many of whom stand alongside him in the political stable of neo-Confederate consultant Richard Quinn. We criticized Wilson at the time for failing to do his job – and for citing “undisclosed conflicts” as his reason.
“Wilson has built his statewide brand on going after public corruption … and this website has backed him up 100 percent in those efforts,” we wrote this summer. “But with each recusal, Wilson is surrendering credibility on this issue. And giving back whatever political ground he gained for pursuing public corruption in the first place.”
Little did we know his sin of omission would soon evolve into something far more sinister – an active effort to sabotage the prosecution of his corrupt allies.
Earlier this month Wilson quietly released an advisory opinion (obtained exclusively by this website) in which he advised first circuit solicitor David Pascoe that several angles of potential prosecution against sitting members of the S.C. General Assembly were unlikely to yield indictments.
Wilson’s office claimed it was simply responding to a request from Pascoe, but there’s no mistaking what happened here: After claiming he was “conflicted” as it related to specific anti-corruption prosecutions, Wilson then attempted to influence these prosecutions by arguing that his political allies were doing nothing wrong.
That’s transparently hypocritical.
If Wilson wanted to evade his responsibility due to some supposed conflict (which is bad enough), then he should have stayed out of this investigation altogether. Instead, he’s now attempting to exert influence on behalf of his cronies after he recused himself from their cases.
We can’t think of anything more corrupt than that …
Two mainstream media outlets have picked up the story of Wilson’s meddling … although they have yet to delve into this hypocrisy angle. That’s unfortunate.
One possible reason why they haven’t, though? A lack of pressure being brought to bear on them.
Since the news of Wilson’s antics broke this month, there’s been a curious silence from the “good government” activists who (like us) were clamoring for Harrell’s head a year ago.
That must stop now …
Bobby Harrell indeed violated state ethics laws related to reimbursements. And he has paid the price for his misdeeds. But other Palmetto politicians have done far worse – and Wilson’s ongoing refusal to hold them accountable (the job he was elected to do, by the way) is inexcusable.
Especially when the people he’s protecting are his political allies …