Most GOP House Members Received Money From Harrell Super PAC Last Year
All donations were in the same amount and given only to Republicans.
Note: The Palmetto Leadership Council is not a Super PAC as previously indicated. It is a Leadership PAC. Super PACs are not permitted to give money directly to candidates.
The PAC affiliated with House Speaker Bobby Harrell donated money to almost all of the Republican House members in the last campaign cycle. The lawmakers each received $1,000 each.
All told, 68 of the 76 of the Republicans in the House received money from the PAC, known as the Palmetto Leadership Council. More than a dozen Senators also received $1,000 contributions from the group.
In the race for House 37, the PAC gave to both Republican candidates, Steve Parker and Donna Wood. Wood ended up winning.
The Palmetto Leadership Council has given millions to other politicians since its inception.
A bill proposed last week by Harrell’s fellow House member Beth Bernstein would make such PACs illegal.
Harrell, who has described the PAC as “pro-business” through a spokesman, has been under fire in the last several months on ethical grounds. In September, he reimbursed himself approximately $300,000 out of his campaign account for travel expenses incurred on his private airplane.
Last week, the South Carolina Policy Council, a longtime thorn in Harrell’s side, accused the speaker of using his position to benefit one of his private businesses, a charge which Harrell refuted.
Of the members of the Legislature who received money from the PAC, four of them now sit on the House Ethics Committee, which would be responsible for investigating ethics charges. Those members are: Jenny Horne, Michael Pitts, Tommy Pope and Murrell Smith.
The chair of the House Ethics Committee, Kenny Bingham, was one of the few lawmakers who did not receive any money from the PAC, according to figures obtained through the South Carolina Ethics Commission.
Bill Whitmire from House District 1, has already received a donation for his re-election effort in 2014.
When told of the breadth of the PAC’s influence, one Republican told Patch, “It looks like (Harrell’s) buying people off and that doesn’t look good.”
The complete list of recipients is below:
|Jenny Horne||94||1,000||On House Ethics Committee|
|Ralph Shealy Kennedy||39||1,000|
|Michael Pitts||14||1,000||On House Ethics Committee|
|Tommy Pope||47||1,000||On House Ethics Committee|
|J. Roland Smith||84||1,000|
|Murrell Smith||67||1,000||On House Ethics Committee|