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Two “Penny Tax” Scammers Surrender To Authorities




A pair of prominent black politicians in the Midlands region of South Carolina are surrendering themselves for arrest in Richland County, S.C. this week in connection with the unraveling “penny tax” scam.

Former Columbia, S.C. city council member Brian DeQuincey Newman and Richland county council member Kelvin Washington surrendered to authorities at the Alvin S. Glenn detention center this week, according to reporter Ron Aiken of The Nerve.

Both officials are being arrested “on tax charges relating to the Department of Revenue (SCDOR)’s ongoing investigation into the Richland County Penny Tax program,” according to Aiken’s report.

It’s been a little over three weeks since this website first reported on a ramp-up in the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR)’s investigation of the Richland County “penny tax,” the end result of a rigged election that will ultimately deprive residents in Richland County, S.C. of $1.2 billion in tax revenue.

To recap: After county residents narrowly rejected this tax hike in 2010, “Republican” and Democratic leaders of the local legislative delegation got together and 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.

The constitutionality of this law has been challenged, although there has yet to be a definitive determination on the issue.

Anyway, the legislative delegation’s appointed puppet proceeded to rig the 2012 vote – targeting excessive shortages of voting machines in county precincts that voted against the tax hike in 2010 (possibly working in concert with her intimate relations in the pro-tax movement at the time).

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

Oh, and all the connected insiders who helped orchestrate the heist are now profiting from it.

Earlier this year, SCDOR director Rick Reames launched its investigation into the “penny tax” proceeds, a probe which determined that millions of dollars flowing into county coffers were not going to “transportation-related projects” – as required by law.

Reames’ investigation uncovered “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.

Sources close to Newman tell us his arrest was uncovered as part of Reames’ probe, but the charges filed against him have nothing to do with the penny tax.  He will reportedly plead guilty to the charges filed against him and pay whatever is owed.

As for Washington, his problems are reportedly much more involved.

In addition to personal tax issues – which could land him in jail for three years – Washington was chairman of the Richland County council at the time the $1.2 billion tax hike was “passed.”  He’s also very closely linked to the prominent black leaders profiting from the scam.

As we’ve said from the beginning of this process, we’re glad someone (namely Reames) has stepped up to the plate and actually worked to identify corruption in government.

That’s a rarity in this state …

We’re also glad to see corrupt politicians (especially Washington) being held accountable for their actions.

Sadly, 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).  Sure, the proceeds of the theft ought to be tracked and those playing fast and loose with them ought to be arrested and prosecuted.

But all of that ignores the fundamental point: This tax never should have been passed in the first place.