This spring was a very dark time for suspended South Carolina Senator John Courson. A very dark time, indeed.
Aside from his indictment in connection with the ongoing #ProbeGate investigation (an ongoing, multi-jurisdictional inquiry focused on alleged corruption within state government), the veteran lawmaker was staring down some serious health issues – most notably a return of his lingering skin cancer.
The 72-year-old politician was close to retiring, we’re told, and candidates were lining up to run for his seat.
The end seemed nigh …
Since then, though, Courson has received positive health news – and rediscovered his desire to fight.
That’s good to hear. We don’t ever wish health problems on anyone, and like anyone accused of committing a crime Courson should be considered innocent until proven guilty. We think the case against him is quite strong, but he has every right to defend himself – and we will never begrudge him (or any other defendant) of doing so as aggressively as possible.
That’s what due process is all about …
Of course Courson’s newfound joie de vivre could complicate his situation … especially if he continues to show up at his S.C. State House office on a regular basis.
“He is at the Senate almost every day,” a source familiar with Courson’s status told us. “If you are suspended you aren’t just suspended from the Senate chamber – you are suspended from your office and parking space too.”
Courson? He’s still using his office (and his parking space) …
(Click to view)
Courson has represented S.C. Senate District 20 (map) since 1985. From 2012 to 2014 he was president of the State Senate, a job he relinquished to avoid having to become lieutenant governor.
According to our sources, guidelines for suspended lawmakers are left exclusively to the leadership of their respective chambers. That means Courson’s status falls under the purview of S.C. Senate president Hugh Leatherman. Like Courson, Leatherman is affiliated with the embattled political empire of veteran “Republican” consultant Richard Quinn.
So it’s not surprising he would be cutting Courson some slack …
Our view? As long as he is suspended, Courson should not be on the grounds of the State House – either in his office or in the parking garage.
We’re not necessarily saying he is doing anything wrong by showing up in these locations, we simply believe his actions send the wrong message.
Suspended lawmakers should steer clear of the State House until their cases are resolved, period.
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