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Democratic Candidate Wants Lawmakers To Return #NukeGate Money

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South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Noble wants every Palmetto State lawmaker to send the political contributions they have received from besieged crony capitalist utility SCANA to charity.

Noble is also claiming that “all 32 members of the special House and Senate committees looking into the nuclear debacle are compromised by their campaign contributions from the utilities.”

By “nuclear debacle,” Noble is referring to #NukeGate – a catastrophic case study of what happens when government intervenes in the private sector (in this case, the energy marketplace).

To recap: SCANA and its state-owned partner Santee Cooper spent the past decade collaborating on a massive expansion of the V.C. Summer nuclear power station in Jenkinsville, S.C.  This project was supposed to have produced a pair of next-generation AP1000 pressurized water reactors at a cost of $9.8 billion.  The money was spent, but the reactors were never finished.  In fact they’re not even half-finished – with the cost to complete them ranging anywhere from $9-16 billion.

Unable to pony up that kind of cash, Santee Cooper pulled the plug on the deal on July 31 … killing an estimated 5,600 jobs, squandering billions of dollars in investment (including more than $2 billion raised through rate increases on consumers) and throwing the state’s energy future into chaos.

Documents released recently revealed executives at the two utilities knew over a year-and-a-half ago that the project was doomed – yet continued to raise rates on consumers anyway.  Not surprisingly, the project’s failure has spawned numerous lawsuits and a pair of criminal investigations – one state, one federal.

(Click to view)

(Via: S.C. Governor)

It’s also prompted a desperate effort on the part of current governor Henry McMaster (above) to unload Santee Cooper … for a song.

Meanwhile, equally desperate lawmakers have been trying to deflect public attention from their own culpability in this matter via the creation of these legislative committees.

“It’s like asking Colonel Sanders to guard the chicken house,” Noble said. “These investigations are a carefully orchestrated charade by the State House crowd to make the public think they are doing something, after years of looking the other way.  It appears this so-called investigation is turning out to be more of a political whitewash than a real investigation.”

We’re not often in ideological alignment with Noble, but in this case he is absolutely right …

We called lawmakers out for this charade from the beginning, and we wrote another expansive piece exposing their self-serving machinations just last week.  Also let’s not forget former governor Mark Sanford’s starring role in this scam, either.

Sanford could have vetoed the special interest legislation that allowed SCANA and Santee Cooper to subsidize their investment risk in this failed project, but he refused to do so.

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