NOT A WORD FROM PALMETTO “ETHICS QUEEN” ON SC ATTORNEY GENERAL’S SHAMELESS ABUSE OF THE PUBLIC TRUST
When a small band of fiscally conservative S.C. Senators led by Tom Davis defeated a proposed $800 million-a-year tax hike earlier this month, they received no love from the S.C. Policy Council, the Palmetto State’s so-called “free market think tank.”
In fact they got a snippy column from the organization’s president Ashley Landess telling them they should have done more to achieve structural reform during the debate.
On the reform count, Landess is correct: She supports the proper structural reform blueprint for the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT). However it was shocking to read her attack on the fiscal conservatives in the Senate on the same day they killed an $800 million-a-year tax hike.
Far more deafening than Landess’ shrill irritation during the gas tax debate, though? Her total silence in the aftermath of arguably the most shameless display of public corruption we’ve seen since we first launched this website nearly a decade ago.
We’re referring, of course, to S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson‘s increasingly aggressive efforts to put the kibosh on a joint-federal state investigation into public corruption at the S.C. State House – after he recused himself from the probe citing undisclosed conflicts of interest.
How bad are Wilson’s transgressions against the public trust in this case? So bad we’ve already called on him to resign his office.
Landess? She hasn’t uttered a peep …
Not only that, her think tank’s news outlet – The Nerve – hasn’t written a word about the scandal.
That’s curious … especially when you consider how vocal Landess, the Policy Council and The Nerve were in praising Wilson two years ago when he was pursuing a public corruption case against former S.C. Speaker Bobby Harrell (one of Landess’ political arch-enemies).
What gives this go-round?
Well, it’s no secret in Palmetto political circles that Landess is exceedingly close to S.C. Rep. Rick Quinn – the crown prince of the neo-Confederate empire of veteran Palmetto political consultant Richard Quinn.
Wilson – a client of the Quinns’ firm – is widely-believed to be blocking the State House probe because he’s worried several of the firm’s top legislators are about to be indicted on public corruption charges. Such obstruction of justice would obviously be far more damning than anything Harrell ever did … yet Landess and her news outlet aren’t offering a single word in protest. Or asking tough questions about Wilson’s as-yet-undisclosed conflicts. Or demanding an investigation into his actions.
Hell, they’re not offering a single word … period.
Sources close to Landess tell us she doesn’t want her reporters “chasing breaking news.” She believes The Nerve exists to do longer-form investigative pieces, we’re told.
Maybe that’s true … but this scandal is simply too egregious to ignore, especially given the lengths to which Landess has gone to brand herself as the queen of ethics reform in the Palmetto State.
Seriously: If Landess and her crew expect to have any credibility on ethics issues moving forward, they cannot afford to remain silent on this matter. They have to stand up to Wilson and his corrupt political overlords.
They have to call Wilson out for what he is: A thug. In fact Wilson is the worst kind of thug because he’s now actively enabling the very sort of public corruption he previously vowed to root out.
This website used to praise Wilson, too: And it gives us no pleasure to watch him morph from a crusader against public corruption into public enemy No. 1.
But that’s precisely what’s happened here … and anyone not calling it out for what it is cannot be taken seriously when they call for “ethics reform.”