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SC Waste Watch: More Shady Payments To “Republican” Consultant




A so-called “Republican” consultant with close ties to powerful S.C. Senator Hugh Leatherman is raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from yet another quasi-governmental entity.

According to reporter Robert Meyerowitz of The Nerve – a Columbia, S.C.- based news website – establishment GOP advisor Bob McAlister has been paid “at least $855,500 since 2011” by the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA).  This is the group our website exposed nearly a decade ago for its role in a scam that funneled millions of dollars in corporate tax credits intended for South Carolina entrepreneurs to the state’s government-run “research universities.”

SCRA has also raided cash from the state’s so-called “Education Lottery” – which was sold to voters in 2000 as a way of improving our state’s government-run K-12 schools (which are still the nation’s worst, by the way).

Established in 1983, SCRA’s stated goal is to “foster and enrich South Carolina’s innovation economy.”  Has it been doing that?  No … but it’s been ripping off tax money and doling out huge bonuses to bureaucrats.

And apparently paying big money to McAlister, too.

From Meyerowitz’s report …

From April 2014 to June 2016, SCRA paid McAlister $12,000 every month for consulting. From 2014 to the present, according to records furnished by SCRA, he’s been paid $387,500.

From 2011 to March 2014, SCRA paid him another $468,000, but does not retain invoices from that time, Cokins said; those payments were also for consulting, she said, at the rate of $144,000 a year.

SCRA continues to pay McAlister for consulting, at the rate of $10,000 a month.

McAlister frequently partners on projects with embattled neo-Confederate consultant Richard Quinn – whose political empire is the primary target of an ongoing criminal investigation into corruption in state government.  McAlister and Quinn worked together on the 2010 gubernatorial campaign of Henry McMaster – who became governor earlier this year when Nikki Haley was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as America’s ambassador to the United Nations.

Two weeks ago, McAlister’s six-figure contracts with another failed government experiment – S.C. First Steps – were exposed.  Then there’s his starring role in the ongoing Bull Street disaster – a downtown Columbia, S.C. redevelopment project that has wasted more than $70 million from taxpayers.

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McAlister is also at the heart of a potentially huge scandal involving Leatherman’s bid to raise the state’s gasoline tax.  And he’s taken tens of thousands of dollars from the S.C. State Ports Authority (SCSPA), which continues to lose ground to its east coast rivals.

This website has consistently argued that early childhood education, economic development and port infrastructure management are not core functions of government – certainly not the way they are done in South Carolina.

Payments like this to a hack like McAlister are further evidence that taxpayers should have absolutely no role whatsoever in any of these undertakings …

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