Tag Archives: Luke Rankin

Lawyer-lawmakers largely control who becomes a judge in SC. Here’s their latest power play

February 21, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Ten S.C. House members who are lawyers are pushing legislation to create two circuit and two family court seats – and several of the bill’s co-sponsors would play large roles in who gets nominated to those positions. The lead sponsor of the bill is House speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, an attorney who […]

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PURC legislative members took junkets to utility industry-sponsored events

February 19, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT From 2007 through 2016, five longtime legislative members of a panel that nominates candidates to the S.C. Public Service Commission each attended at least two out-of-state events sponsored by utility-industry trade groups, records show. The total taxpayer cost of the trips by the five lawmakers who sit on the six-legislator, 10-member State […]

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State law violated: PURC fails to submit annual reviews of PSC members

January 24, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT A legislatively controlled committee violated state law in recent years by not giving the General Assembly annual performance reviews of individual S.C. Public Service Commission members, who set utility rates for residents and businesses statewide, a review by The Nerve found. Timing could be everything. Before the V.C. Summer nuclear project collapsed […]

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Lawmakers making the green after getting green light from ethics panel

December 13, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Almost three years ago, the state House Ethics Committee quietly gave written approval to an unnamed House member who is an insurance agent to sell insurance policies to local disability boards and county hospitals. The Jan. 25, 2017, “advisory opinion” also said the lawmaker didn’t have to abstain on voting on any […]

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Ties to lawmakers present in judicial screening hearings; records kept secret

November 15, 2019

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT As a sitting S.C. Supreme Court justice, George James is first up Monday in a series of screening hearings by a legislatively controlled panel that will determine whether he and other lower-court judges will be nominated for election in the General Assembly. James, who is seeking his first full 10-year term on […]

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S.C. lawmakers spending campaign funds on favorite charities, other ‘gifts’

November 13, 2019

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state house

By RICK BRUNDRETT During this year’s legislative session, S.C. Sen. Hugh Leatherman spent a total of $14,769 for constituent “gifts” through ChemArt, a Rhode Island-based ornament company, plus another collective $1,364 for constituent meals at the upscale Palmetto Club near the State House – all paid for with campaign funds, records show. The Florence County […]

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Legislators continue to look out for their own bottom lines

March 27, 2019

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SC budget process

By RICK BRUNDRETT Another year, another round of state lawmakers supporting legislation that could fatten their wallets. Just this month alone, at least two House bills and a Senate bill were introduced, while separate legislation passed the Senate, that pose potential conflicts of interest for lawmakers who authored or co-sponsored the proposals. State ethics law […]

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Lawmakers usually find it easy getting other government gigs

March 6, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Ex-S.C. Rep. Mike Pitts’ decision this week to drop his quest to become the next director of the state land preservation agency is a rarity compared to the steady stream of former lawmakers who glided into high-paying government jobs. The Laurens County Republican, who last year was the House Ethics Committee chairman […]

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How S.C. lawmakers try to intimidate citizens and groups they don’t like

February 8, 2019

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state house

By RICK BRUNDRETT For years, S.C. lawmakers have repeatedly tried through legislation and other means to intimidate citizens who run for legislative seats, raise ethical questions about legislators’ official or campaign activities, or criticize their positions on issues. And lawmakers show no signs of letting up – at least not in this legislative session. The […]

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Senators continue tradition of keeping magistrates on short leashes

February 5, 2019

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT In South Carolina, state senators largely control the selection of more than 300 county magistrates, who handle thousands of relatively minor criminal and civil cases annually. That power is amplified when magistrates finish their terms without being reappointed, a period known as “holdover” status in which they can serve indefinitely – and […]

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