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Harrell ruling

Posted: July 10, 2014 9:36 a.m.
Updated: July 11, 2014 5:00 a.m.

We were glad to see the S.C. Supreme Court rule that Alan Wilson, the state’s attorney general, can continue his probe into possible improprieties by Bobby Harrell, speaker of the House of Representatives. Lawyers for Harrell had attempted to have Wilson removed from the case. Wilson had originally asked a state grand jury to investigate whether Harrell had broken ethics laws in several different instances.

Harrell and his attorneys had claimed Wilson was on a political witch hunt and asked that the matter be turned over to the House Ethics Committee. That raised questions among some people -- rightfully so -- as to whether House members on that committee could be impartial in dealing with someone who holds so much sway over the members, as Harrell does.

We are, of course, a nation -- and state -- of laws, and not of men. The Supreme Court, in overturning a ruling by Circuit Judge Casey Manning, said the attorney general had the right to continue his investigation. That makes common sense and will help dispel the notion that things are being whitewashed. The immediate issue is not whether Harrell violated ethics rules but whether a full investigation of that question can take place, and now it can.

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