Bobby Harrell, The “little girl” and His Campaign Funds
By Paul Gable
South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell has refused to provide detailed receipts of more than $325,000 he reimbursed himself from campaign contributions, according to an ongoing series of stories by Renee Dudley, AKA “little girl”, of the Charleston Post and Courier.
For nearly a month, the reporter has been requesting receipts and itemized expenses, as required by state ethics law and subject to public disclosure. S.C. Code of Laws Section 8-13-1302 enumerates requirements for maintenance of expenditure records from campaign contributions.
Disclosure reports on campaign receipts and expenditures are required to be filed quarterly with the S.C. Ethics Commission. These are supposed to include a detailed listing of to whom and for what purpose expenditures are made.
Reportedly, Harrell has lumped reimbursement expenditures to himself as “travel costs incurred over several months.” On nine separate occasions, he has reimbursed himself $10,000 or more with only these generalized explanations.
What will be done about Harrell’s not complying with the letter of the ethics law? Probably nothing.
Any ethics complaint against Harrell would be “investigated” by the House Ethics Committee, a body whose members are appointed by Harrell and five of whom have received campaign contributions from a PAC controlled by the speaker.
As we saw in a June hearing regarding ethics complaints filed against Gov. Nikki Haley over actions when she was a state representative, this committee will do nothing even if it holds a hearing.
A system that provides for peer investigation of ethics violations is no system at all.
One must wonder, however, why a powerful politician like Harrell, who faces no real opposition from one election cycle to the next, continues to amass campaign contributions in the large amounts he does.
Charleston Post and Courier stories: