HURRICANE MATTHEW WASHES OUT EVENT …
“Republican” members of the S.C. House of Representatives have canceled their annual retreat thanks to Hurricane Matthew. The event was supposed to have been held this month on Hilton Head Island, but the storm battered the area so severely the event had to be scrapped.
The cancellation of the retreat comes at a tempestuous time for the S.C. House GOP caucus – which is squarely in the crosshairs of an ongoing investigation into alleged public corruption among its members.
Not surprisingly, tensions are running high within the group – which has been badly divided over the best way to respond to the investigation.
One group of GOP lawmakers believes the probe is a broad, political witch hunt targeting dozens of members for relatively insignificant campaign finance violations. Others believe it is more narrowly-defined – seeking to hold several former GOP leaders accountable for allegedly self-serving behavior.
Those who think the probe’s focus is more expansive want to limit investigators’ access to certain information (or at least follow due process). Meanwhile those who feel the investigation is a rifle shot have been arguing in favor of turning over everything to S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe, who won the right to lead the investigation following a bitter legal battle with S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson.
Our view? We’re not yet sure what the focus of the probe is – although we’ve written extensively about which leaders could be at the heart of it (including former “Republican” majority leaders Rick Quinn and Jimmy Merrill, whose stories you can read about here and here, respectively).
We’ve also written extensively on how rank-and-file members could get caught up in the mess.
Beyond extending the lingering divisions within the caucus over the probe, the cancellation of the annual retreat means lawmakers will have to push back their agenda-setting for the upcoming legislative session – which convenes in early 2017.
Because that’s what “Republicans” do, apparently …
(Banner image via iStock)