WOW — Bobby Harrell expected to plead guilty!

Here’s another reason to feel better about the direction of our state — a big one.

Bobby Harrell, who so recently went about boasting that he had beaten efforts to bring him down, is now reported to be about to surrender completely. John Monk reports:

Suspended S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell is expected to resign his House seat and plead guilty Thursday to charges of using campaign funds for his personal gain, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Harrell is scheduled to appear at a 10:30 a.m. hearing at the Richland County courthouse, according to a prosecutor’s press release….

Harrell, 58, who faces various charges of criminal misconduct in office, already has had a bond hearing and is free on $18,000 bond.

Harrell was indicted Sept. 10 on nine charges, including illegally using campaign money for personal expenses, filing false campaign disclosure reports and misconduct in office. It was the first time in memory that a sitting South Carolina House speaker has been indicted….

This is big stuff, people. This kind of thing doesn’t happen every century in South Carolina…

11 thoughts on “WOW — Bobby Harrell expected to plead guilty!

  1. Mike F.

    Progress? This feels more like the new radicals ousting the old guard after a power struggle to me. It’s certainly a scalp on the wall for the SC Policy Council and its backers.

    1. Brad Warthen

      Well, there’s that. But if they’re right, they’re right.

      For too much of this year, it seems, we’ve been fighting over whether a Speaker, guilty or not, is even subject to investigation when warranted. That the answer, in the end, is “yes,” is cause for celebration. That, in itself, is progress.

  2. Lynn T

    You’re so right, Brad. The Supreme Court ruling that the legislative ethics committees and the Attorney General/SLED are independent jurisdictions is one of the best things that has happened lately in South Carolina government ethics. Now we need to make sure that the AG can do his (or her) work without having to fight this battle again. The standard for removing an AG from a case should be very high. The AG is the elected legal representative of the people of the state, and his or her independence is not a small thing to be cast aside, certainty not over a bland and perfectly ordinary press release stating nothing more than that a grand jury investigation is underway.

  3. Dave Crockett

    Interesting that the Harrell story did not make the late TV newscasts up here. Well, OK, at least not the 10 p.m. ‘cast that old fogies like me have to watch these days instead of 11 p.m…

  4. Doug Ross

    If you were to “follow the money” of pretty much any long serving politicians, you’d find plenty of evidence to indict them. Misused campaign funds, PAC money used to gain power, phony expense reports…

    All political campaign funds and PAC should be held in trusts that are 100% open to the public to review transactions. Every dollar that comes in and goes out should be traceable. That won’t eliminate the corrupt behavior but it will make it harder to hide it.

    If Harrell did use campaign money to pay a secretary at his insurance firm, he should be facing additional tax evasion charges, shouldn’t he?

    1. Mark Stewart

      I would guess that Federal prosecution for tax evasion was the option B that lead him to capitulate so abruptly to his lesser state charges.

      And, no, Doug I do not believe all long-serving politicians are corrupt. But some certainly are and no one should condone such activity.

      Maybe this will enable some actual concrete reform to emerge. I’m still on the side of optimism.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yeah, I’m not even sure if it’s possible to plead guilty to a state charge and have prosecution on a FEDERAL charge waived in the bargain. I’m not sure state and federal authorities work together on deals like that. Maybe they do. This is outside my ken…

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