ILL-ADVISED “INTERRUPTION” COULD CREATE SERIOUS HEADACHES FOR PROSECUTOR
“N’interrompez jamais un ennemi qui est en train de faire une erreur.”
That quote, attributed to the famed French Warlord Napoleon, is translated as follows: “Never interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
South Carolina Democrats did just that on Friday, sending out a press release in which they promised to voluntarily submit recent S.C. House Democratic Caucus financial records to David Pascoe, the first circuit solicitor who is conducting an ongoing investigation of alleged corruption at the S.C. State House.
The decision – announced by S.C. Rep. Todd Rutherford – was ostensibly made “in the name of full transparency.”
More like “full stupidity.”
To recap: It’s been more than two years since this website exclusively reported on the existence of an investigation into alleged legislative corruption. So far there have been two big developments in the case – the indictment of former S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell on ethics charges back in October of 2014 and the implosion of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson, who earlier this year attempted (angrily and clumsily) to obstruct Pascoe’s probe.
Other than that, it’s been fairly quiet – although in recent weeks the speculation surrounding its progress has ramped up considerably.
We’ve got a pretty good idea of where the probe started – although where it’s headed is obviously anybody’s guess.
What we do know is “Republicans” in the S.C. House of Representatives have been served with a massive discovery request from the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) related to the ongoing investigation – a request which has spawned a full-on panic among GOP members.
Seriously … if you’ve ever seen an anthill two seconds after it’s been kicked over, that’s what the House “Republican” Caucus looked like last week.
In rushing to “voluntarily” submit their records – boasting of how they had “absolutely nothing to hide” – Democrats made a critical tactical mistake.
Included in Rutherford’s statement was the following sentence …
We received no formal request from Solicitor Pascoe to hand over any records nor were we advised to do so by our legal counsel.
Wait … what? So no Democrats are being investigated?
That’s sure what it sounds like …
In an exclusive report last month on this widening investigation, we noted that “if Pascoe has expanded the parameters of his probe … and if his wider net has only ensnared additional ‘Republicans’ – the GOP will cry foul.”
That appears to be exactly what is happening …
According to our sources, the ill-conceived Democratic release has breathed new life into a beleaguered GOP caucus. In fact, we’re told one ranking “Republican” – who was meeting about the investigation with his attorneys at the time the Democratic statement published – was so euphoric in responding that he slammed his fist down on a conference room table.
“Now we have them!” the lawmaker reportedly exclaimed, eagerly showing the statement to his lawyers.
We don’t think that’s necessarily an appropriate (or accurate) response, but Democrats have clearly made a major unforced tactical error.
And for what? What did they gain?
Beyond violating Napoleon’s maxim (not to mention Sun Tzu‘s maxim of not interrupting one’s enemies while they are in retreat), Rutherford has suddenly put Pascoe in a terrible political position.
Up to this point in the investigation, Pascoe has maintained the moral high ground – with the public viewing him almost universally as a crusader against corruption (which is how Wilson used to be viewed, incidentally).
Now Democrats have gift-wrapped an opportunity for GOP lawmakers to attack Pascoe’s investigation along partisan lines – an opportunity we suspect the “majority” party will seize with both hands.
More ominously, Democrats basically just invited Pascoe to issue a far broader discovery request for all of their records – which could conceivably open up all sorts of problems for lawmakers in the minority party.
(Banner image via Travis Bell Photography)