I was a bit surprised by this move by Joan Brady:
A Midlands lawmaker says the investigation into Gov. Nikki Haley has gotten too political and is encouraging it be investigated by the state Attorney General’s Office instead of a legislative committee.
“The State Attorney General’s Office has the experienced investigators and staff necessary to address this matter in a fair and timely manner,” wrote Rep. Joan Brady, R-Richland, a member of the House Ethics Committee that is looking into charges that Haley illegally lobbied while a member of the House.
In a letter to the committee’s chairman, Brady continued the committee is “not positioned to hire the criminal investigators and lawyers necessary to fully investigate this complaint.”…
On the one hand, the attorney general should be someone who could credibly do this. That is the one great advantage, theoretically, to having the A.G. elected separately from the governor.
On the other hand, what’s our experience been? The A.G.’s office was much criticized for supposedly dragging its feet on the Ken Ard investigation. I’m not saying Alan Wilson DID delay dealing with that sticky wicket; I’m saying he was accused of it. And I think it fair to say that criticism was… political. In the end, the thing was handled properly, but along the way there were plenty of recriminations. Political recriminations.
Does an investigation by lawmakers of one of their own have a political dimension? You bet. But so does an investigation by an elected official from outside the General Assembly.
And as it happens, the way the law is set up, it’s the Legislature’s job to investigate this. Rep. Brady not wanting to do so comes across as little more than wanting to ditch a hot potato.
Maybe it is more than that. If so, Rep. Brady should present clear evidence that the process has been compromised. That is to say, more compromised than that party-line vote to dismiss the charges the first time around.
The innuendo here — raised by Nikki Haley (who would never seek to influence an investigation of herself — would she?) — is that Bobby Harrell has improperly influenced the investigation by urging the panel to DO something this time.
I suppose you could see that two ways — as Harrell out to get Nikki, or as the speaker wanting a trustworthy ethics panel that won’t punt at the first whiff of public scrutiny.
If Rep. Brady has evidence that Harrell has crossed a line, let’s hear it when the panel meets on Wednesday. If not, if it’s just that the members are in an uncomfortable position here — well, Alan Wilson would be, too, if you dumped it on him.