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Bobby Harrell

Posted: April 24, 2014 8:28 a.m.
Updated: April 25, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Allegations that Rep. Bobby Harrell, speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives, illegally funneled campaign contributions to his own use should be examined in the brightest possible light, and that means letting a grand jury decide what happened rather than turning the matter over to the House Ethics Committee, which isn’t experienced in such investigations and doesn’t have the power to take effective action.

Ashley Landess, president of the S.C. Policy Council, originally filed a complaint against Harrell, alleging potential illegal activity. That organization describes itself as “an independent, private, non-partisan research organization to promote the principles of limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty and responsibility in the state of South Carolina.”

Harrell is accused of diverting about $300,000 in campaign funds to his personal use. His attorneys have tried to have S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson removed from the case, which they attempted to have take place in a private meeting with a judge. There has also been a lot of back-and-forth about which body -- the grand jury or the ethics committee -- would be appropriate to handle the situation.

The best resolution would be to move forward with the grand jury. Claims of whitewashing are going to follow Harrell if the case is heard before the House Ethics Committee, and the only way to properly lay the issue to rest -- or take it to the next level -- is with a proper investigation.

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