EX-SPEAKER SUMMONED TO APPEAR BEFORE GRAND JURY …
Former S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell has reportedly been called to testify before a statewide grand jury investigating public corruption within the S.C. General Assembly.
Harrell, 60, resigned his powerful post in October of 2014 after pleading guilty to six ethics violations connected to campaign spending discrepancies. Part of Harrell’s plea deal included a cooperation agreement with prosecutors.
According to our sources, Harrell has been summoned by S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe to provide sworn testimony related to the ongoing investigation of state lawmakers.
Other witnesses may also be called (or asked to remain on standby) this week, we’re told.
What exactly is Pascoe looking for? Good question … but whatever it is, the news that Harrell has been summoned is likely to further inflame the panic currently gripping “Republicans” in the S.C. House of Representatives.
Pascoe’s recently relaunched probe is reportedly eyeing allegedly excessive or improper contributions from the 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016 election cycles.
Some believe the investigation is a political witch hunt targeting dozens of GOP lawmakers for relatively insignificant campaign finance violations. Others believe the probe is more narrowly-defined – intended to hold several former House caucus leaders accountable for allegedly self-serving behavior.
Which is true?
It sounds like we’re about to find out …
To recap: Pascoe received the Harrell case from embattled S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson after the latter recused himself from the investigation. Last summer, Wilson recused himself a second time as it related to other sitting lawmakers under investigation – once again handing off the cases to Pascoe’s office.
In March, Pascoe was preparing to convene a grand jury for the purpose of handing down indictments – efforts which were supported by S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) chief Mark Keel and presiding circuit court judge Clifton Newman.
Without offering an explanation, though, Wilson barred Pascoe access to the grand jury. Then he fired him – and tried to replace him with a different prosecutor (one who declined to take the job). Next, Wilson clumsy attempted to politicize the case – angrily (and baselessly) attacking Pascoe’s integrity.
It also remains to be seen whether he’s targeting any Democrats … (to the extent there’s a difference between the two parties anymore).
(Banner image via Travis Bell Photography)