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Mark Keel Renominated As SLED Chief

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In a surprise move, South Carolina governor Henry McMaster announced his intention to renominate Mark Keel as chief of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) on Wednesday.

“Chief Keel has served our state with great honor, integrity, and leadership for many years, and there is no one more qualified or more fitting to lead one our state’s superior law enforcement agencies,” McMaster said in a statement. “I’m proud to reappoint Chief Keel. With leaders like him at the helm, the people of South Carolina can rest assured that our state is in good hands.”

If confirmed by the State Senate, Keel would serve a second six-year term – meaning he would be the Palmetto State’s top cop through January of 2024.

McMaster’s nomination of Keel surprised many Palmetto political observers in light of the starring role the latter’s agency has played in an ongoing investigation into public corruption in government.   Not only are SLED  investigators working closely with S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe – who is handling the prosecutions related to #ProbeGate – but Keel is one of the officials who has had to sign off on statewide grand juries related to the probe.

The ongoing criminal investigation has targeted many of the governor’s political allies – and caused considerable speculation as to whether McMaster himself may be exposed.

Keel, 60, has led SLED since he was nominated by former governor Nikki Haley in 2011.  Prior to that he led the S.C. Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), an agency which has descended into chaos under its new leader.

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“I am honored that Governor McMaster has chosen to reappoint me as chief of SLED for another six years,” Keel said. “It is an affirmation of the hard work, dedication, and respect achieved by the men and women of SLED, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve as their chief.”

This news site has run hot and cold with Keel – whose candidacy for the SLED job we endorsed back in 2011.  We’ve been highly impressed by his agency’s work on #ProbeGate and numerous other criminal investigations, but we obviously disagree with him on the issue of decriminalizing marijuana and other drugs.

Having said that, we are keeping an open mind on that issue – as evidenced by the fact we recently turned over our microphone to Keel to share his viewpoints on the subject.

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