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SC Politics

‘Conservative’ South Carolina Congressman Campaigns With Your Tax Dollars

William Timmons is using government funds to try and restore his tattered image …

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If there is an incumbent member of the South Carolina congressional delegation in desperate need of good publicity, it is William Timmons. The scandal-scarred third-term representative from Greenville, S.C. is still recovering from the ‘Days of our Congressman‘ saga, a self-induced implosion that spit out damaging headlines for months on end.

This scandal should have resulted in far worse consequences for the Upstate’s insufferable “fortunate son,” but House Republicans circled the wagons for him … and the Upstate’s judicial branch is evidently afraid of him.

To recap: Timmons initiated his own sex scandal in the spring of 2022 via an unsolicited “prayers and privacy” statement provided to this media outlet in response to rumors of his affair with a self-styled socialite, Paula Dhier. As I’ve often noted, this news outlet did not request a statement from Timmons regarding his mistress and gave no indication of any plans to cover their tryst. In fact, FITSNews generally eschews reporting on affairs unless they involve misspent tax dollars, abuse of office, attendant criminality or some glaring, over-the-top hypocrisy on the part of the elected official in question.

Timmons’ preemptive statement was apparently a deliberate attempt to torpedo his marriage, sources familiar with the situation say. That part of the ruse worked, too. But the congressman quickly lost control of the narrative, and shortly thereafter saw it escape completely from his grasp.

Faced with a credible challenger in his bid for a fourth term in Washington, D.C., Timmons is now attempting to rehabilitate his public image … and he’s using your money to do it.

(Click to View)

A taxpayer-funded billboard featuring U.S. congressman William Timmons is seen in Greenville, S.C. (Provided)

Across the Upstate, billboards, mailings, social media messages and radio advertisements are filling the airwaves – touting Timmons as “fighting for the Upstate.” The fine print of these glorified campaign commercials indicate they are “paid for by official funds authorized by the House of Representatives.”

In other words, by taxpayers.

Wait … what? A so-called “conservative” Republican is using public funds for political mailings?

“We have a duty to keep our constituents informed of what we’re doing in Congress and how we’re working hard to get results for them,” Timmons’ spokesperson told The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier.

A duty? Really?

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Earlier this month, Timmons voted against a consolidated appropriations bill. According to him, the measure did “nothing to get our fiscal house in order.”

“Washington’s spending addiction is why our nation is currently $34 trillion in debt,” Timmons said. “Our appropriations process is fundamentally broken, and the bill before us today is just more of the same bloated spending that we simply cannot afford.”

I agree. 100 percent. But … I’m confused, in what universe is spending tax dollars on political advertisements reducing “bloated spending?”

Timmons’ hypocritical expenditures were slammed by Adam Morgan, chairman of the S.C. Freedom Caucus and the candidate running against him for the fourth congressional district seat in this June’s GOP primary election.

“Taxpayers continue to see taxpayer-funded billboards, social media ads and postcards from my opponent,” Morgan said. “With a $34 trillion national debt, my opponent should stop using taxpayer funds to push his failing congressional campaign. He has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in thinly disguised informational mailers, social media ads, digital billboards and radio ads to influence the outcome of an election.”

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“This is wrong,” Morgan added. “As families across the district pay income taxes on April 15, it’s ludicrous that a multimillionaire like my opponent uses funds of hardworking South Carolinians to advance his campaign rather than raising money himself.”

Timmons hails from a fifth-generation, über-wealthy, über-influential family in Greenville, S.C. His great-grandfather – William R. Timmons Sr. – built an empire in the Upstate beginning in the mid-1920s, focusing on the real estate, trucking and insurance industries. The family – which helped establish the city’s civic and philanthropic communities – is reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

As for Timmons’ campaign account, he has an estimated $91,000 cash on hand after raising more than $850,000 last year. Of that total, $350,000 came in the form of a loan the candidate extended to himself.

Despite his personal wealth and abundant campaign resources, since taking office in 2019 Timmons has spent $831,000 in public funds on in-district mailings – a practice referred to as “franking.”

Why is Timmons not paying for these ads with campaign funds?

That’s a good question. In fact, it’s the question. And to be honest, I can’t identify a satisfactory answer he could possibly give – not while passing himself off as a “conservative,” anyway.

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RELATED | ‘DAYS OF OUR CONGRESSMAN’ SCANDAL

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Timmons’ office can certainly claim it has a “duty” to inform the public of what the congressman is up to, but last time I checked … we knew exactly what he was up to.

Which is the problem …

The truth is Timmons is spending as much of your money as possible prior to an April 12, 2024 “blackout date,” at which point he will have to start spending his own campaign funds ahead of the June 11, 2024 GOP primary election.

As for Morgan, he vowed that if elected he “will not use taxpayer funds for billboards or radio ads.” Not only that, he pledged to “sponsor a bill to ban their use during an election year.” Such legislation could wind up saving taxpayers as much as $20 million annually.

I certainly understand Timmons is desperate to repair his damaged reputation in the Upstate, but last time I checked he had tens of millions of dollars at his disposal he could use for that purpose. The fact he is passing that obligation off to the taxpayers of the fourth district – using their money instead – should tell you all you need to know about whether he deserves another term representing them.

Assuming you hadn’t already reached that conclusion based on the scandal that necessitated this government-subsidized image reclamation effort …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

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 and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.

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6 comments

JustSomeGuy Top fan March 26, 2024 at 4:50 pm

He’s a POS, but I have never understood the idea that his including FITS in the media outlets receiving the “prayers and privacy” statement was so insulting. Seems like it would be more insulting to “this media outlet” if he had just overlooked you altogether. It looks to me that FITS had all of the dirty laundry and was waiting for any reason to air it out. Like a jerk brother edging up to a sibling with the old “Touch me, and I’ll hit you.”

Reply
Dum Spiro Spero Top fan March 26, 2024 at 9:56 pm

To raise money has he thought about selling the Holy Bible like his hero, Brother Donald. Yours for only $59.95,
plus postage and handling.

Reply
Astonished Top fan March 27, 2024 at 12:09 pm

At least the Donald is holding the “Bible” (constitution, Bill of Rights, Lee Greenwood song, etc) with the right side up this time!

Reply
George Johnson Top fan March 27, 2024 at 7:11 am

So, it’s wrong for Timmons to use federal dollars for “franking,” but it’s okay for Congressman Joe Wilson to do it?

Reply
Nancy Bryson Top fan March 27, 2024 at 12:14 pm

Yes, as Will says, Timmons is a hypocrite. I hope he loses.

Reply
value March 27, 2024 at 3:31 pm

Well he’s never actually had a job so he’s used to spending other people’s money.

Reply

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