Several months ago our media outlet reported on the existence of a criminal investigation into powerful South Carolina lawyer-legislator Todd Rutherford. For those of you unfamiliar with this influential legislative leader, Rutherford is the minority leader of the S.C. House of Representatives. More relevant to this discussion, he is also a member of the powerful S.C. Judicial Merit Selection Commission (SCJMSC) – the legislatively controlled panel that picks judges in the Palmetto State.
We’ve also addressed judicial corruption in the Palmetto State extensively on the Week In Review.
This week, there was an apparent escalation of the investigation into Rutherford – which our media outlet also reported on exclusively. Specifically, Rutherford was called in for two days of questioning at a S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) facility in Columbia, S.C. As I noted in this week’s episode, during one of those interrogation sessions Rutherford may have been “subjected to a polygraph examination.”
What are agents hoping to uncover? Good question. This probe began with a referral based on allegations of misappropriated public funds, but after Rutherford’s bank records were subpoenaed earlier this year … who knows where it is headed now.
All we know for sure is that SLED chief Mark Keel was reportedly livid upon learning that news of Rutherford’s questioning had been leaked to the media.
In our second segment this week, reporter Andy Fancher joined me to discuss his big exclusive on a graphic dog shooting by law enforcement officers in Laurens County. Fancher walked me through how we found out about this incident, how it unfolded and took the opportunity to respond to some criticism of our reporting from the sheriff whose deputy pulled the trigger.
Andy is working on several big stories heading into the coming week, so we look forward to having him on the show more frequently in future episodes.
In our final segment this week, producer Dylan Nolan interviewed me on my impressions of the fourth Republican presidential debate of the current primary cycle – held at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. I attended this gathering in the hopes of determining firsthand which – if any – of the candidates on the GOP undercard might be deserving of a “First in the South” endorsement from our media outlet.
Dylan also grilled me on my own personal history (.pdf) with one of those candidates … former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. I suspect that segment of the show might draw some national eyeballs.
Back to the debate, though: So often in our media world, coverage of events fails to align with what actually transpired. It’s slanted – or downright deceptive in some cases. On this point, I must credit our top political writer Mark Powell for consistently churning out accurate, insightful commentary that tells the story of what actually happened at these gatherings – not what the thought police want to you to think.
To read Mark’s recap of the Alabama debate, click here.
Once again, thank you to everyone who tuned into the show this week. As I often say, your support enables everything we do. If you want to help us continue holding those in power accountable – to continue pushing for reforms that enhance accountability at the institutional level – please consider subscribing to FITSNews today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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