Bobby Harrell has been indicted on nine counts in a probe of ethics violations, and has suspended himself from office.
Suspend himself? In high school maybe, but as Speaker of the House? Is he allowed on the state house grounds? What if his mom brings him? Harrell has been House Speaker since 2005. He has been a legislature for over two decades. He has been claiming his innocence for two.
The indictment stems from investigative reporting by Renee Dudley and Steve Largen at the Post and Courier. They reported that Harrell had reimbursed himself $325,000 dollars. The indictment cites Harrell spent a million from his campaign account, and got reimbursed $294,000 by the state. Harrell owns an insurance company, and allegedly paid an employee of that company about $70,000 from his campaign funds. It alleges that he took trips that were clearly not state business, and doctored pilot logs.
That story broke two years ago, and has languished in Columbia since. The wheels of justice grind slowly, but never as slow as they do when the state legislature is involved.
It’s called ethics-schmethics. The general feeling is that the laws are so poorly written, you can get away with practically anything. Practically anything. Not nine counts. That is too many.