KENNY BINGHAM ENTERS THE “REVOLVING DOOR”
Less than four months after announcing his intention to step down as a member of the S.C. House of Representatives, former “Republican” majority leader Kenny Bingham has reportedly been hired as a “government affairs advisor” by a multi-state law firm with offices in Columbia, S.C.
The firm – Adams and Reese LLP – has scheduled a reception this month to toast Bingham’s rumored hiring. Of interest? It is also reportedly hiring Anthony Quattrone, a former employee of the neo-Confederate political empire of Richard Quinn.
Quinn and Bingham are longtime political allies.
Bingham – who is currently suing this website and its founding editor for libel – was the “Republican” leader of the S.C. House from 2008-2012. He has also served as chairman of the House’s self-policing “ethics” committee – the panel that whitewashed the transgressions of governor Nikki Haley four years ago.
It’s not clear exactly what sort of “government affairs” work Bingham will be doing, but state law prohibits elected officials from engaging in lobbying activity “during the time the official holds office and for one year after such public service ends.”
Why does such a prohibition exist? To prevent elected officials from trading on the power of their offices.
Of course as the Haley case showed, lawmakers (and former lawmakers) can violate this statue with impunity.
Especially when they don’t report who is paying them …
According to our sources, during his “public service” Bingham has enjoyed a very cozy relationship with some of the State House’s most influential lobbyists – including uber-liberal Richard Davis.
In fact, we’ve uncovered numerous payments made by Davis’ lobbying firm to a property management company that is reportedly co-owned by Bingham.
These payments – totaling tens of thousands of dollars – were made in the name of various lobbyist principals, virtually all of whom had business before the S.C. General Assembly at the time the payments were made.
Did Bingham disclose the receipt of these payments to the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC)?
No, he did not.
How convenient, right?
In addition to expanded income disclosure (which allows the public to see who is paying its leaders), this website has consistently argued in favor of a permanent prohibition against lawmakers becoming lobbyists … or “government affairs advisors.”
The arrangement is incestuous in our view – not to mention costly.
“Once they’ve blown millions of your tax dollars accumulating political favors, they turn around and cash those favors in on behalf of their new ‘private sector’ masters,” we wrote back in 2011. “Which of course results in millions of additional tax dollars being blown.”
It’s a vicious cycle for taxpayers.
Anyway, we’ll have much more on the Bingham story in the coming weeks. We are also conferring with our attorneys in the hopes of providing readers with a long-awaited update on the status of Bingham’s lawsuit against us.
Stay tuned … much more to come on all of these fronts.