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Matthew Pushes #ProbeGate Timetable Back

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INVESTIGATION WILL RELAUNCH NEXT WEEK …

The ongoing investigation into alleged public corruption at the S.C. State House was forced to take a two-week hiatus due to Hurricane Matthew.  It will relaunch next week, we’re told.

Ho-hum, right?  Exactly … although there is a political component to the delay that’s worth mentioning.

Given this pause in the probe, it is now highly unlikely that any indictments will be handed down prior to the November election.  In fact, the two-week hiatus could wind up pushing the investigation’s timetable into 2017.

That could end up being most fortuitous for S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe, who has been accused by some “Republicans” of politicizing the investigation – which appears to revolve around alleged self-dealing on the part of former GOP leaders in the S.C. House.

“If an indictment came down before the election wouldn’t the chatter be that it was all political?” one ranking GOP lawmaker mused.

Indeed … but with the probe all but guaranteed to extend beyond next month’s voting, it seems much of the immediate partisan rancor associated with it has died down.

“Pascoe is posturing for the Democrats, I still believe that,” one rank-and-file GOP lawmaker told us. “But the timing is less suspicious.”

Sources close to the probe tell us no indictments were ever expected prior to the election, and that the delay in Pascoe’s “rifle not shotgun” investigation “isn’t going to make any difference.”

“The investigation didn’t end it was delayed,” one source told us.

What’s the latest in the probe?  Well, as was reportedly exclusively on this website earlier this month, former S.C. Speaker Bobby Harrell was recently summoned to provide testimony before a statewide grand jury convened by Pascoe.  Harrell is the only lawmaker to be ensnared by the probe thus far – having resigned from his powerful post in October of 2014 after pleading guilty to six ethics violations.  Harrell’s plea deal included a cooperation agreement with state prosecutors – and we’re told he has “more than lived up to that deal.”

Several other witnesses connected to Harrell have also reportedly been called to testify – or at least they had been called prior to the storm effectively shutting down state government.

How will all of this end?

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.

Guess we’ll find out soon … although not quite as soon as we thought.

(Banner image via Travis Bell Photography)

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