Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, March 28, 2016


Very quickly:

  1. Pascoe claims Wilson blocking legislative investigation (The State) — The AG denies trying to shut down probe of General Assembly. Wilson’s office expresses “grave concerns that Solicitor Pascoe is not following the law or proper procedure.”
  2. In Stunning Setback, Belgium Frees Man Held in Bombings (NYT) — That guy they were holding? They had to let him go. They’re looking for a whole other guy now.
  3. Gunshots fired at U.S. Capitol (WashPost) — Someone has been shot; may have been a police officer, may have been the shooter. This could turn into a lede, depending on how it develops. The Tweets pictured above illustrate how confused initial reports are.
  4. Fidel Castro scorns Obama’s Cuba visit (BBC) — So much for Un Nuevo Día
  5. Georgia Gov. Says He Will Veto Controversial ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill (NPR) — We’ve got this going on on both sides of us now. The Culture War rages on.
  6. USC baseball jumps upward in rankings (The State) — For those of you who complain you don’t get enough sports here, for the mix.

12 thoughts on “Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, March 28, 2016

  1. Mark Stewart

    Isn’t it striking the way that Alan Wilson is acting just as Bobby Harrell did? That’s surely not coincidence.

    #1 – Writing that his interpretation of ethical behavior (because there are no actual state ethics laws pertaining to the legislature) is that politicians may pass through campaign contributions to their businesses and family’s businesses (I.e., straight into their own pockets) is either (i) an absolutely brilliant way to force the State Supreme Court and the Feds to address the untouchables, or else (ii) it is revelatory of his absolute lack of moral integrity and the opening the Feds need to take over the investigation and seek federal indictments. In either case, I don’t see how Alan Wilson does not get bulldozed here.

    Hopefully, it was of his own intention and done for the greater good of the State of South Carolina. It’s late; I will be charitable and give him the benefit of the doubt – because he is going to lose either way. The real question, however, is whether this is a temporary, orchestrated setback, or the end of his political career. It’s clearly one of the other. We shall see …

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      And to update everyone… After the headline above, Wilson fired Pascoe as special prosecutor (a position to which Wilson had appointed him), and Pascoe claimed Wilson lacked the authority to do so…

      It wasn’t until this incident that it registered on me that Pascoe is a Democrat. Which explains the expressions of support for his position from Democratic legislators. (CORRECTION: from Democrats, not lawmakers. See below.)

      I really hate to see something this important hinge on something like that…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Actually, that’s the only Democratic lawmaker from whom I saw such a Tweet. And he’s not a lawmaker any longer.

          Others were from Democratic hired guns and such…

      1. Mark Stewart

        I’m a Republican and all things considered (given what is known now), I would tend to support the efforts of Pascoe and SLED vs Alan Wilson at this point.

        Democrat or Republican has nothing to do with anything. We are talking about public corruption. It appears as though what we are seeing is diligent effort to bring sunshine to places others’ would rather keep dark. We are very, very far from any sort of political witch hunt and anyone who tries to shill that idea is on the wrong side of right.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          And what’s confusing me here is that I thought Wilson and Pascoe were on the same page.

          That was a nice “alley-oop” play they did on Harrell in 2014. They seemed like a good team at fighting corruption.

          So this is distressing…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I had to check and make sure I used the sports idiom correctly. And I did! I will feel like such regular guy now for the next few seconds…

            Harrell thought Wilson had thrown the ball out of bounds in the last second of the game and was already celebrating when Pascoe jammed it in…

  2. Lynn Teague

    Pascoe’s attempt to begin a Grand Jury investigation was signed off by Chief Keel of SLED and the appropriate judge. This sounds liKe there are firm grounds for Grand Jury investigation. Pascoe is a respected solicitor, not a rogue prosecutor.

    Also, there are in fact ethics laws that apply to legislators, they are just weak.

  3. Lynn Teague

    I don’t think this hinges on partisan politics, just because explicit defenses of Pascoe to date have been primarily Democratic. I would expect to see more defenses of the role of Special Prosecutors and the Grand Jury process from Republicans, who probably don’t want to make comments useful in Democratic campaign ads. And in fact we are seeing that, for example Rep Bill Taylor’s Facebook statement today, which is issue focused, in favor of the Grand a Jury moving forward.

  4. Mark Stewart

    Clearly Wilson and Pascoe are not playing for the same team.

    So the question remains, recusing one’s office due to a personal conflict of interest would appear to require adjudication by another entity, no? Alan Wilson agreed he is conflicted in this matter and that he had to remove himself from involvement – which he did. So what does he think gives him the authority to either fire one special prosecutor or hire another?

    It would seem the issue ought to be out of Wilson’s hands; and it appears the illegalities Pascoe is pursuing may prove to be far more personal than had been imagined. Of all the motivators fear is the most powerful. That’s starting to give me pause here.


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