RGA doubles down on reprehensible anti-Sheheen ads

Oh, and rather than hang their heads in shame over their grotesque, dishonest attacks on Vincent Sheheen, the Republican Governors Association is cranking out more of them in the same vein.

The latest, dated today, is above.

23 thoughts on “RGA doubles down on reprehensible anti-Sheheen ads

  1. bud

    They’re trying to appeal to fear. Sadly it will probably work to some extent. But whatever you think about Sheheen’s politics his time spent as an attorney doing his job to defend his clients is what America is all about. EVERYONE, no matter how bad their crime, deserves competent council. Don’t people understand what REAL American exceptionalism is all about?

  2. bud

    This is way off topic but on a personal note my oldest child and her family live a mere 15 minutes away from where the devastating tornado passed through Mayflower and Vilonia Arkansas. A member of their church lost a close relative. Thankfully my child, her husband and my grandchildren are fine.

  3. Harry Harris

    Those ads don’t have to be fair, pertinent, or even accurate. They are run for an effect, and that effect is as old as Dent, as nefarious as Adelmann, as in vogue as trash talk, and as underhanded as Rove.

  4. Matt

    I have a different take.

    If a CEO who is running for office presides over a company that sends jobs oversees and then campaigns as wanting to create South Carolina jobs, he should have to answer to that in the context of a campaign, and it would be a fair charge for the opposition to bring up. If a named partner at a law firm has served as an advocate for those convicted of sex abuse, child molestation, spousal abuse, etc. and then presumably campaigns on wanting tough sanctions as a deterrent for these crimes, then again it is fair for the opposition to point out the record and seeming contradiction.

    I am a USC Law grad and practiced for a period of time in a small to mid-sized town in South Carolina. I went to great lengths to structure my practice in a way that I would not be engaged in criminal defense work. I believe in the constitutional right to representation, but that doesn’t mean I or any other attorney is forced to provide that representation when it presents a moral conflict. There are hundreds maybe thousands of lawyers in South Carolina who are both qualified to be governor and who has never represented guilty sex offenders to the tune of getting their sentence reduced from years to days. Vincent Sheheen took a different path and should absolutely have to answer to the voters for it. And just to be fair I also think Haley needs to be held accountable for the abysmal DSS failures on her watch and should be called to answer for that by the voters.

    1. Mark Stewart

      I find it interesting that, as an attorney, you are able to draw a bright line between the guilty and the innocent. I see you wrote “guilty sex offenders”; but what if someone were wrongly accused – or wrongly convicted? Or just wrongly tripped up by an ill-written or ill-considered law? Would it be a moral conflict to aid the falsely accused?

      Lawyers richly deserve a lot of the dirt that is thrown their way. But they are a pillar of our rights as a free society. It is a double standard and quite unfair to tar them for defending our rights.

      Play this game: Vincent Sheheen or Gedney Howe – who is more amoral? (Some attorneys do rightly deserve societal condemnation)…

      1. Bart

        “…getting their sentence reduced from years to days.” Matt


        I think this is what Matt was referring to, not a pre-judgment of the accused before a trial. The offender did get his sentence reduced and there may be mitigating circumstances but until they are known, all the public knows is that a convicted sex offender received what is perceived as favorable treatment in the sentencing phase of the trial while being represented by Sheheen. Maybe on this one, Sheheen should respond and clear the air.

  5. T.J.

    I 100% agree with Mark’s above point. The fact is that all Americans regardless of crime, regardless of innocence or guilt are entitled to a fair trail. Criminal defense lawyers stand as a bulkwark against the vast power of the State (as compared to an individual) to insure that the process works as intended. In order for that to happen, both the innocent and guilty must be represented with equal zeal.

  6. Bart

    As noted in another thread about the ads, they are out of line when it comes to attacking Sheheen when he provided legal counsel to an accused felon. But, after reading the rest of the story, I can understand the concerns about Sheheen getting a convicted child molesters sentence reduced to days instead of years. I know he was doing his job and under the constitution, the accused is guaranteed the right to counsel.

    It does present a moral conundrum of sorts, depending on one’s personal experience and convictions.

    However, Sheheen’s legal defense of a sex offender in the past has nothing to do with whether he would be an effective governor or not.

  7. Silence

    I think Matt’s point above is well made. A person’s career choices are a part of their overall character, and should be fair game for voters to be informed about, to use this information when formulating an opinion.

    Haley’s “career” included a stint as an accountant for her family business, and as a fundraiser/lobbyist/whatever for Lexington Medical Center. It’s relevant, and part of her historical record.

    Sheheen’s choices are relevant as well. He chose to study law, to work in criminal defense, and to defend some people who are most likely the scum of the earth. Is it a legitimate career choice? Yes. Does it make me want to vote for him? No. Is it “fair game” to have his work entered into the record for public debate and scrutiny? Abso-f’ing-lutely!

    1. T.J.

      Silence, I think it is not an issue that it is being brought up, but more of what is being said. Criminal defense lawyers are very important part of upholding our social contract around justice. I believe that is above reproach unless something (actually) illicit is taking place. The false outrage over something absolutely necessary for our society to function as intended is despicable.

    2. Kathryn Fenner

      Not when he cannot ethically defend himself. There are so many extenuating circumstances, many of which are bound by confidentiality rules.

  8. Burl Burlingame

    You might agree with Matt, but if you were charged with a crime, would you want to retain him as your defense, knowing that he makes “moral” choices about his clients instead of legal ones?

    1. Bryan Caskey

      I think good lawyers make legal and moral decisions in representing clients. But I agree with Silence that a man’s work is fair-game to discuss if he runs for public office.

      Having said that, I don’t think that representing a defendant in a criminal action means that you can be fairly labeled as “soft on crime” or something like that.

      It’s just improper to impute the conduct of a client to a lawyer. For instance, I’ve represented people in mortgage foreclosures before. I don’t condone not paying your mortgage, but those people can obtain a benefit from having legal counsel present them with their options and effectively negotiate a mutually agreeable resolution with their lender.

      Even better example. I do a fair amount of family court litigation, but I don’t advocate for people to get divorced. But I don’t make the choice for people to get divorced. By the time they’ve come to me, they’ve already made that decision, and they’re looking for legal counsel as to how best to establish their rights and ascertain their obligations.

      I just don’t see Sheheen’s legal work as being all that probative of his fitness for office. But that’s just me…an icky lawyer.

      1. Silence

        I haven’t seen the ad in question, but I still think it’s fair game to put everything on the record, and to let the voters make up their mind. I for one would like to know more about who Sheheen has represented in his practice, and how he was compensated. I’d also like to know more about Haley’s sinecures at Lexington Medical Center and Wilbur Smith.

    2. Silence

      Burl, no I wouldn’t want to retain Matt for my defense. It sounds like he doesn’t do criminal defense work. If I were charged, I’d be hiring the best criminal defense attorney I can afford, not some civil specialist.

    3. Matt


      My practice focuses on real estate, probate, and business law – so I’d be the first to advise someone popped for assaulting a woman or molesting a child to retain counsel other than myself.

  9. Karen Pearson

    From what I can see, he has carried out the duties of his job well. It’s bad enough that our criminal justice system defends the rich much better than the poor. To judge a person before the verdict, or to fail to get him/her the best deal possible would be reprehensible. A system that made a priori judgments or had any bias written into it at all would be no legal system at all.

    1. Doug Ross

      i think there are some gray areas here though… are we all okay with defense lawyers who blame the victims in rape cases for “asking for it”? are we really best served by a system that allows a lawyer to exploit loopholes or use unethical means to get his client off or a reduced sentence?

      I won’t judge Sheheen on WHO he defended. It would be more useful to know HOW he defended them. Since we don’t have access to that information, I don’t allow this ad to even register.

      I once watched Jeffrey Feiger, the lawyer for Dr. Kevorkian, in a civil malpractice case in Lexington. While he may have been doing everything he could for his client (the plaintiff), he was so overbearing and borderline unethical in his tactics (putting exhibits on the projector that the judge had told him not to), that I wouldn’t ever vote for him for any office.

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        Oh, yeah, I have a problem with attorneys who sneak stuff in, and otherwise flout the rules. Prosecutors and defense attorneys….

  10. bud

    Just today a report came out that 4% of all people on death row are probably innocent. Perhaps if some of these folks had a better lawyer this might not have happened. I know political ads are largely beyond the control of the law but these Sheheen ads are reprehensible and it’s incumbent upon all folks who value the American way to condemn them in no uncertain terms.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      The two biggest issues are that innocent people often won’t plead to a lesser charge or feign remorse, and that police and prosecutors focus too much on convicting the suspect they “like” for the charge and not keeping an open mind in the search for justice. Also, the State has huge resources and the PDs do not.

Comments are closed.