The furor over South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis’ alleged pay-to-play scheme involving the state pension fund and a prominent (not to mention wealthy) Republican power-broker continues this week, with the vice chairman of the panel that oversees the fund calling for Loftis to step down. FITSNews, which has been Loftis’ head cheerleader as the treasurer weighs a primary bid against Gov. Nikki Haley in 2014, has gone into full damage-control mode by accusing the vice chairman of being corrupt himself, and claiming the whole thing is just a political hit job by Haley. Don’t get me wrong, PPR would love to see a Haley-Loftis primary battle in the next election — and given South Carolina’s history of corruption, it’s safe to say that there’s some truth behind all this political name-calling. Where that truth lies, however, remains to be seen — so in the meantime, we’ll continue to peel back the layers of this corrupt little onion.
Now on to the headlines:
SC’s diverse union workers don’t like bashing - There are 59,000 workers in unions in South Carolina, and a number of them are angry at the suddenly fiery comments Gov. Nikki Haley is making about organized labor, according to the Associated Press’ Jeffrey Collins. Haley hasn’t hidden her dislike of unions during her first year in office, using Boeing’s battle with the national Labor Relations Board to boost her stance that unions don’t help businesses.
Judges to rule on keeping redistricting talks secret - A judicial panel is expected to rule this week on whether state lawmakers can keep their redistricting deliberations secret, according to the Spartanburg Herald Journal’s Stephen Largen. The ruling, and whether the case wraps up before filing for state House and Senate districts opens in mid-March, will affect local officials’ plans to try to tweak the lines of two Spartanburg Senate seats ahead of the deadline.
Longtime Sumter senator won’t seek re-election - Longtime state Sen. Phil Leventis, a Sumter Democrat, said Friday he will not run for re-election in November, according to The State’s Gina Smith. Leventis said he has spoken with several potential candidates about running for his seat, and believes it remains a winnable seat for a Democrat — despite newly-redrawn Senate lines.
Surveillance Cameras Proliferate in Downtown Columbia - Nests of private surveillance cameras have popped up in downtown Columbia, housed in blue boxes and bearing the yellow letters “CPD,” according to the Free Times’ Corey Hutchins. But the Columbia Police Department doesn’t own the cameras, and the proprietor of a private company that does own them. They just want people to believe the cops are the ones operating them.
Opinion: Abolish the Budget & Control Board - The Budget & Control Board is a uniquely South Carolina institution built on the assumption that all wisdom resides in the Legislature and designed to ensure that governors could not govern, according to an editorial in The State. A bipartisan proposal by Sens. Vincent Sheheen, Tom Davis and Shane Massey would restructure the legislature’s committees so their primary duty is to understand what’s happening at agencies, and adjust the laws and funding accordingly.
One more thing: Did you notice Rush Limbaugh sitting in the Patriots’ owner’s box during last night’s Super Bowl? Did you notice him picking his nose?