- Sen. Vincent Sheheen continues to fight for better government in South Carolina. According to Corey Hutchins‘ piece in the Free Times today, Sen. Sheheen plans to file a bill banning “leadership” PACs in the state. (BTW, this piece makes my friend Greg Foster look a bit silly. Sorry, Greg!)
The PACs are also a way for a small number of lawmakers to consolidate power, according to Sen. Vincent Sheheen. Disturbed by the trend, the Camden Democrat plans to introduce a bill that would abolish them.
“Leadership PACs dramatically increase the clout and leverage of a few at the expense of the many,” he says. …
The largest leadership PAC, the Palmetto Leadership Council, has ties to Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell, a Charleston Republican. In 2010, that PAC amassed about $200,000 from special interests.
Harrell spokesman Greg Foster says the PAC has “no relation with anything going on with [Harrell’s] office” and that Foster personally “hadn’t been involved in any of the process” of its formation.
In 2010, however, the PAC gave more than $12,000 to Foster directly for “professional services,” according to State Ethics Commission filings.
Foster said it had nothing to do with his duties in the speaker’s office and that work he did for the PAC was on his own time and completely separate.
“Leadership PACs are a growing problem in South Carolina,” Sheheen says. “The potential for abuse is twofold. One is to get around giving regulations, but the other is to allow members to exert control over other [legislative] members financially, which I think is very unhealthy.
- Turns out that the whole Toyota random acceleration thing was a big j/k. Rather, (some) Toyota owners just don’t seem know the difference between the gas pedal and the brake.
- After an absolutely absurd amount of time (2 weeks of debate!!) and energy dedicated to the subject, the SC Senate has passed a bill to allow the legalization of raffles. Like church raffles. And stuff. What? You didn’t know they were illegal either? And … get this … in order to legalize that which no one seems to know is illegal in the first place, we have to amend the state constitution — which is a huge pain. I’d like to see a figure of the projected economic impact of this measure if it manages to land in front of voters at the ballot box for approval. It better result in a serious amount of job creation.
- Spend your Valentine’s Day at the coolest building in Columbia — 701 Whaley St. … known simply as “701″ — this Monday from 6-11 PM. It benefits a good cause, too: Columbia’s Nickelodeon Theatre capital campaign. (If Larry Hembree will be there, it’s going to be fun.) From the article:
The proceeds from the event go toward the Nickelodeon Theatre’s capital campaign to relocate to the old Fox Theatre on the north side of the State House.
Nickelodeon director Larry Hembree, who says love means “you understand me,” says the collaboration between What’s Love and the Nick is “pitch-perfect — visual, funky, fun and edgy.”
- Finally, check out the latest handiwork of South Carolina’s own Robert Ariail, surely one of the most talented cartoonists in the country (via Brad Warthen’s blog):
PS — b/c I do so dearly love the Free Times and believe that it’s quickly becoming the #1 must-read of SC political coverage (Who saw Alvin Greene coming? Pretty sure that would be Corey Hutchins and only Corey Hutchins.) … I have to say: y’all’s website sucks. Abysmally. 2003 called and wants its style back. Really hard to navigate too. Your content is so fantabulous, and it would be much more easily digested in an up-to-date format. If you’re in the market for an overhaul, I know a gal with an awesome team of developers! Just sayin’. If you don’t get help here — please, get help somewhere. ;-)
PPS — As you’ll note from the out-of-the-blue and bizarrely ANGRY comment from former SC Blogger Wes Wolfe, I incorrectly added a hyphen between “Free” and “Times” several places in the original post. My bad! Goodness! Not sure why that hit such a sore spot. The web address for the publication — which, as I indicated above, I do sincerely love — is www.free-times.com, and I’ve mostly read the FREE SPACE TIMES from outside of Columbia. The last sentence of Wes’s comment is my favorite, though: ”If you keep up this silliness, you might as well team up with Brad Warthen to create a self-important pointless blog so we won’t have to pay attention to two of them.” ZING! Hey, buddy, nobody *has* to pay attention to either one of us. Who knows what I did to earn the wrath of Mr. Wolfe? I guess it’s safe to say that whatever Wes is doing in his days as a recovering blogger isn’t making him any happier. :( Wes is a talented guy, and I hope he finds what he’s looking for.