New Developments in Coastal Kickback Scandal?
By Paul Gable
A lot of buzz is going around the Grand Strand business community that new developments in the Coastal Kickback scandal will be made public shortly.
Coastal Kickback spread $239,500, in campaign donations of questionable legality, to state legislators and Myrtle Beach city council incumbents after passage of a local tourism tax that brings approximately $18 million to the coffers of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce annually. It has been the subject of an over two year investigation by the FBI and IRS.
The talk includes references to an imminent public statement by the U.S. Attorney’s office, possibly as early as today or the beginning of next week.
In the federal justice system, normally only the Department of Justice, acting through a grand jury, can bring a felony charge.
Multiple sources are reporting more interviews have been held in recent days and the potentially significant term “final interview” has been mentioned. A “final interview” is typically conducted to fill in evidence gaps and/or lock in testimony prior to an appearance before a grand jury.
S.C. Rep. Tracy Edge, the only local politician to return ‘campaign donations’ made to him in the kickback scheme and who has cooperated with the government during the investigation, reportedly spent several hours with investigators Wednesday.
The talk of a public statement could be significant. The USDOJ Public Integrity Section likes to maintain a reputation of not interfering in elections. This could explain a desire to get the information out publicly, before the election and while there is still time for a special primary to be held if one would be deemed necessary. (See the link below to S.C. Code of Laws Sections 7-11-50 and 7-11-55.)
Two calls to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Columbia yesterday requesting information, if any, about a planned public statement have gone unreturned at this time.
Link to S.C. Code of Laws: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t07c011.php