In Netflix’s original series, House of Cards, Kevin Spacey‘s character Frank Underwood portrays a “crooked” politician from South Carolina. But South Carolina’s politicians’ real-life behavior would make even Frank Underwood blush. At least Underwood concealed his repugnant actions, but in South Carolina, everything is openly corrupt.
Currently, South Carolina Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell, is being investigated by S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson on corruption charges. Earlier this year, the AG sent the case to the Grand Jury, but Harrell is currently trying to throw Wilson off the case through the courts. See here.
A bill being proposed in the South Carolina legislature – rumored to be orchestrated by Harrell – would do just that. It would strip the state’s attorney general of the right to prosecute statewide officials and members of the executive branch for “acts of public corruption.”
So under this bill, the Speaker of the House would be one of two legislators who would choose the special prosecutor for corruption cases.
The South Carolina Policy Council, a limited-government think tank, appropriately calls this bill: “The Politician Protection Act.”
According to the South Carolina Policy Council, the bill would strip the attorney general of his position as the state’s chief prosecutor. His job description would be left up the legislature. The fact that such a major change was filed “without reference” – meaning it can bypass the ordinary committee process – raises serious concerns about its purpose.
In order words, this is a complete power-grab by SC legislators.
“Over the last year, we’ve noticed a growing number of bills introduced for the sole purpose – apparently – of protecting certain members of the legislature from prosecution for alleged ethics violations,” said the Policy Council of this proposed bill.
Ashley Landess, President of the South Carolina Policy Council told Joshua Cook:
“From the beginning, Bobby Harrell has set himself above the law and manipulated the system to his benefit. That’s why he’s in this mess. But rather than explain himself to the public he is supposed to serve, he continues to smear and intimidate those of us who have stood up to him. Not only has he tried to have the AG thrown off the case with zero legal grounds to do so, he is now trying to persuade a judge to push a criminal investigation back to the ethics committee over which he exercises total control. And today 85 of his colleagues introduced a constitutional amendment to strip the AG of his constitutional authority as chief prosecutor — all because Alan Wilson is the only official with the courage to do his job. This is abuse of power at its worst, and all the more reason Alan Wilson should stay on the case as the only advocate for the people who can’t be intimidated.”
Sources say that this bill could get a vote tomorrow.
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