Bob Kelly and his consultant Jim Wiles have so little respect for Horry County voters they offered opponent Bubba Owens a bribe to quit the runoff election.
The runoff election for the Republican nomination for the vacant Horry County Council District 3 seat is set for November 17, 2015.
However, Kelly and his henchmen seem to want to avoid that by bringing Northeast big city machine politics to Horry County in the form of a bribe for Owens to quit the race.
If you question the use of the word bribe, its definition in The Free Dictionary is “Something offered to induce another to do something.” Merriam Webster dictionary states, “Something that serves to induce or influence.”
A November 6, 2015 voicemail message from Wiles to Owens’ campaign consultant said, “Team Bubba should put together a shopping list of stuff that they would want for downtown Myrtle Beach for Bob Kelly to commit to in exchange for Bubba dropping out…”
South Carolina Code of Laws Section 7-25-200 states it is unlawful to offer anything of value to induce a person to withdraw as a candidate.
The only question here is whether a court would view the offer ‘give Kelly a shopping list of what they (Owens and his consultants) want for downtown Myrtle Beach in exchange for Bubba dropping out’ as a criminal act. It certainly goes right up to that line, if it does not, in fact, cross it.
We’ll leave that decision to the solicitors and federal prosecutors. But, the message certainly violates the spirit of the law if not the actual letter of the law.
However, in addition to inducement to quit the runoff election, another criminal consideration is that Kelly’s team is offering to commit public dollars to proposed projects for the personal gain for Kelly of Owens dropping out of the election.