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Political Woes Dog Republicans Across the South Infighting and Scandals Could Undermine Party In Longtime Stronghold

July 17, 2007
 

Political Woes Dog Republicans Across the South Infighting and Scandals Could Undermine Party In Longtime Stronghold

Valerie BauerleinWall Street Journal(Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Jul 16, 2007.  pg. A.1

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Republican-led South Carolina legislature was in the final throes of a bitter session last month when word of criminal charges against a high-ranking state official swept through both chambers.

A federal grand jury had just handed up an indictment against Treasurer Thomas Ravenel, scion of one of the state’s leading political families, for allegedly distributing cocaine. Mr. Ravenel, who had recently defeated a Democratic incumbent who held the office for 36 years, was the statewide chairman for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign, in what has historically been a decisive early primary state.

The indictment is just one of the political headaches across the South that are making Republicans look more vulnerable than they have in years to losing ground in the region’s legislatures and statehouses. Though there isn’t any sign of them losing their dominance in the region, the once-formidable “Solid South” coalitions they forged in the 1980s and 1990s to end a century of Democratic dominion have given way to messy schisms and infighting. Today, they look a lot like the bitterly divided Democrats of three decades ago.

Most of those divisions stem from internal rivalries that have developed as the party consolidated power in the region, where they control half of the legislative chambers. Some of the tensions can be ascribed to dueling priorities between legislatures and governors. Others have been caused or exacerbated by personal scandals like the one involving Mr. Ravenel, who has pleaded not guilty to the cocaine charges, but hasn’t made any public statement about them.

Last week, Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana admitted what he called a “serious sin” in his past after his name surfaced on the list of callers to a Washington, D.C., madam. Mr. Vitter, the Southern campaign chairman for Mr. Giuliani, couldn’t be reached for comment. Mr. Giuliani called the situation a personal matter and said Mr. Vitter would continue to represent his campaign.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue recently vetoed a property-tax rebate and much of the budget crafted by Republican House and Senate leaders, and killed pet projects in House leaders’ districts. House leaders said the vetoes seemed personally motivated. The Republican governor has said there should be no lasting hard feelings. “You can get from point A to B and disagree on what roads to take, but we all want to get to the same place,” said Bert Brantley, Mr. Perdue’s spokesman.

In Mississippi, Gov. Haley Barbour has clashed with his fellow Republican lieutenant governor and party legislators over a push to swap an increase in the cigarette tax for a cut in the state’s comparatively high sales tax on food. Gov. Barbour opposed the idea out of concern about changing the tax structure as the state continued to recover from Hurricane Katrina.

There have been indictments and scandals involving Democrats in the South in recent years, too — the former speaker of the North Carolina House was sentenced last week on bribery charges. But the series of missteps involving Republicans has coincided with other signs of trouble for the party after two decades of increasing influence in the region, and could create opportunities for Democrats.

Last year, Democrats picked up a total of 25 seats in Southern legislative races, their first net gain since 1982, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Kentucky, a recent poll of 693 registered voters by InsiderAdvantage, showed half of independent voters and nearly a third of women voters were undecided about the governor’s race, an ominous sign for Republican incumbent Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who got a big boost from independents the first time around.

Mr. Fletcher fended off two Republican challengers in a May primary in which the dominant issue was his indictment in an investigation into whether he improperly rewarded supporters with state jobs. The indictment was dropped last year in a deal with prosecutors. “The governor acknowledged that some mistakes were made in his administration, but it didn’t rise to the level of criminal activity,” said Marty Ryall, Mr. Fletcher’s campaign manager.

Despite their control of nearly every elected statewide position and huge majorities in both houses of the legislature, South Carolina Republicans have been unable to deliver on significant campaign promises, including a program that would give state residents vouchers to help pay for private schools.

In May, a split among Republican blocs allowed a coalition of Democrats and some Republicans to engineer the selection of a Democrat for a rare opening on the state Supreme Court. The party’s once-tight control of state spending has weakened. The state’s current $6 billion budget now includes a $9 million grant fund for pet projects, such as festivals celebrating pork and catfish in various legislative districts. Last month, Senate leaders, angered by what they saw as an attempt to blame them for a budgetary logjam, crashed a news conference held by Gov. Mark Sanford and House leaders in a bid to tell their side of the story.

The squabbling has been made worse by scandals involving alleged personal misconduct. Last month’s indictment in U.S. District Court in Columbia of the 44-year-old Mr. Ravenel, a colorful Charleston developer known as T-Rav by friends on his MySpace page, followed by days a no-contest plea by a Republican state representative to charges of making threats against his estranged wife’s boyfriend.

Last year the state’s Republican former agriculture commissioner was sentenced to federal prison on extortion charges related to a cockfighting ring. The state’s 38-year-old lieutenant governor, Andre Bauer, another rising Republican star who was close to Mr. Ravenel, was pulled over twice for speeding, but wasn’t ticketed even though he was clocked on one occasion last year at 101 miles an hour.

The legislature just appropriated $90,000 a year so Mr. Bauer could have a driver and security detail. Mr. Bauer’s chief of staff said the lieutenant governor regrets the speeding incidents, but that they weren’t related to his getting a driver and security detail.

The day after Mr. Ravenel’s indictment, state Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson issued a public scolding, warning members of his party that personal misconduct and legislative double-dealing were a threat to the party. He reiterated his plea in an op-ed article published July 3 in The (Columbia) State newspaper, saying he was getting constant calls and emails indicating an unprecedented “sustained unhappiness” with Republicans. Unless officeholders straightened up, he said, “grass-roots activists will not just revolt with their votes, they’ll revolt with their apathy — and that would cripple this country.”

South Carolina House Majority Leader James H. Merrill says his Charleston constituents frequently ask why he can’t get Republicans “to act like Republicans.”

“You’re going to end up alienating voters,” Rep. Merrill said. “You saw a little bit of it in Washington. That’s why every 20 years, the pendulum swings the other way.”

Mr. Giuliani, who already faces skepticism from Christian conservatives because he has been married three times and because of his moderate stance on abortion and gay rights, expressed shock at the Ravenel charges and named a new state chairman for his campaign. However, Mr. Ravenel’s father, former U.S. Rep. Arthur Ravenel Jr., remains a regional campaign chairman and one of Mr. Giuliani’s most visible supporters in the state.

Democrats already have seized on the elder Mr. Ravenel’s longstanding support of flying the Confederate flag at the South Carolina state capitol, and on references he made in 2000 to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Mr. Ravenel referred to the NAACP as the “National Association for Retarded People.” Mr. Ravenel said yesterday he wasn’t sorry about his remarks but didn’t mean to give offense to the retarded. He has previously said that he mistakenly transposed the name of the civil- rights organization with an advocacy group for the mentally disabled with which he worked in the past.

The elder Mr. Ravenel has another son with Down syndrome. Elliott Bundy, a spokesman for Mr. Giuliani, declined this week to comment on demands by Democrats that Mr. Giuliani condemn Mr. Ravenel’s previous remarks.

According to his attorney, the younger Mr. Ravenel has embarked on a 30-day treatment program at an Arizona facility. Gov. Sanford has suspended him temporarily; under South Carolina law, he would automatically lose his office if convicted.

The Republican turmoil has raised some Democratic hopes that parts of the South may no longer be as lockstep in support of the Republican Party. But Donald L. Fowler, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and the husband of Carol Khare Fowler, South Carolina’s Democratic Party chairwoman, cautions that Republican fatigue doesn’t yet necessarily portend broad Democratic comebacks, particularly in South Carolina.

He says it would require a major demographic shift, such as an influx of people from other parts of the country, and a major economic change, such as a depression, to change the landscape.

“At least where we are now, Democrats don’t have the wherewithal to take advantage of the split in the Republican Party,” Mr. Fowler said.

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34 Comments leave one →
  1. paul permalink
    July 17, 2007 9:48 PM

    Ravenel is simply the latest in-your-face instance reflecting the corruption in the “Charleston Cesspool” where the “Charleston Aristocrats” are above the law while the other folk are routinely abused by the laws the aristocrats control. Simply look into the record of former Solicitor Arthur G. Howe and his clan if you want to be nauseated. Want more – check into what Howe did to destroy the life of Willie Waters and other victims that Howe persecuted while a soused prosecutor. When the FBI unmasked the “backyard” drug stash of a member of the Howe clan their corrupt influence kicked in and smoothed everything over for one of the aristocrats.

  2. jane permalink
    July 17, 2007 9:49 PM

    My deeper concern is that Mr. Ravenel might have used the coke to curry political favor among certain constituencies, where the nefarious rainmaker snorted, and the arid plants beneath expressed appreciation with their votes.

  3. johnny permalink
    July 17, 2007 9:51 PM

    An insider in the SC Democratic Party has informed me that, shortly before the election last Fall, the Party was informed (reliably) that Thomas Ravenel is gay. He apparently snuck off to the Carribbean with his partner shortly after what was to be his wedding to a woman.

  4. July 17, 2007 9:52 PM

    Perhaps an investigation might find more on Mr. Ravenal than just drug use. Oftentimes this is one symptom of a greater disease. Not referring to the alleged gay partner, but to business practices and what really has happened in the Treasurer’s Office…..

  5. Efra permalink
    July 17, 2007 9:52 PM

    It’s always the same. Everyone know about it, but it’s hidden from the public. Just like Governor Sanford’s “good friend” and buddy in the air force. But we the public have to listen to him harp on family values. Give me a break.

  6. Larry permalink
    July 17, 2007 9:54 PM

    WOW! Too bad! He was a real jerk anyway. New campaign platform for Thomas “Gigglesnort” Ravenel: “Me for You! You for Me! Everybody do COCAINE!”

    We all know that Andre will be indicted next. These guys need to be taught a lesson. What a bunch of arrogant – in-bred idiots.

  7. Sal permalink
    July 17, 2007 9:54 PM

    Guess all those $25,000 republitards in SC just need to look the other way and pretend this didn’t happen!!

    If he is charged with a crime he needs to be arrested just like every other druggie- this is after all a major prosecution in the War On Drugs.

    Another fake bites the dust!

  8. Cat permalink
    July 17, 2007 9:57 PM

    After reading all of these comments, there is one name mentioned that is particularly intriguing, Perhaps there are a few more rocks that should be turned over…kind of like the rocks you and your buds used more than a decade ago. Leaving a good guy within an inch of his life doth not a trustworthy politician make. You can run. You can even get elected, You just can’t hide sweetie. What goes around…la la la.

  9. Don permalink
    July 17, 2007 9:58 PM

    “South Carolina” what-can-ya-say…. From Charleston to Florence to Lake City, politicians and town leaders on the take and constantly in the news. Corruption in this state is totally out of control! People like Ravenel however will buy his way out of this due to his name and money, no doubt about it! Hopefully the media will continue the pressure against Ravenel but more digging needs to ensue to weed-out the rest of the burrowing rats in the system. “Time to drop the dime”…

  10. Theodore permalink
    July 17, 2007 10:01 PM

    When you are a public servant, on the public’s payroll, you do not do coke, sell coke, or act a fool. This is our TREASURER y’all. What else has he been doing? think about it. The coke addiction is only the tip of the iceberg. What comes with it is a lot of other things. I guarantee you there is a long list of out-ethic behaviour that we may never learn about. I do know women who have had the unfortunate experience of trying to be picked up by this ‘man’ in the most inappropriate of ways. So you want to do coke, sell coke, fine. Just dont work in public service or tout yourself as an angel. I really feel for his family. He needs help. Rehab, public apologies, fines… make up damage some how. I think Jail too, because he was a city servant. Time to clean house on both sides. I am rather liberal, a democrat, but when you serve the public, you should be held to the strictest of standards. Period.

  11. Old permalink
    July 17, 2007 10:02 PM

    So the downtown connection – “Hash” – turns rat – in order to get a nicely reduced sentence on his bust for an actual exchange of a half-ounce with a police CI.

    Ravenel couldn’t find a better guy to hook up with than “Hash”?
    How bizarre… and goofy…was he looking for better pricing as Treasurer?

    Now Ravenel’s turn through the legal system comes through evidence gathered for the age-old “conspiricy to distribute” deal via wiretaps, Hash testimony, etc…blah, blah, what a great case for lawyerly billing hours.

    Interesting that the SC Feds/Sleds never got a warrant – kicked the door in and nabbed him and various other rich boys – with lines on the table and bags in their pockets – that would have been a huge bust. They were probably afraid that someone in the courthouse would tip ‘em off. Or that the political payback price could be too high. Or both.

    This is a nice little SC soap opera with a good cast. I can’t wait for the next episodes.

  12. Pres permalink
    July 17, 2007 10:04 PM

    SORRY TOMMY THEY CAUGHT YOU BUDDY JUST BE QUITE AND SEND ME $500,000 AND I’LL GIVE YOU A PARDON ON THE WAY OUT, ALSO IF YOU RUN INTO SCOOTER TELL HIM HE OWE’S ME A COOL HARD MILLION, I LOST ALOT OF MONEY ON THAT SITUATION. SELLING SECRETS, SOMEONE HAS TO DO IT.

    THIS MESSAGE IS NOT ENDORSED BY THE RNC

    IT WAS APPROVED AND PAID FOR BY STUPIDITY.

    JUST ONE QUESTION mr ravenel WHO IN THE HELL DID YOU PISS OFF…

  13. More to Come permalink
    July 17, 2007 10:11 PM

    All of the officials that are found to be connected with Michael Miller and Thomas Ravenel and the general cocaine investigation need to go. It is time to clean house at the Statehouse and elsewhere. Get rid of them. These positions are too important to have a bunch of Dope heads, cocaine distributor’s running things for the rest of us. It is in the best interest of the State for Justice to be served swiftly.

  14. DNR permalink
    July 17, 2007 10:12 PM

    Let’s see, Ravenel has been indicted on “Cocaine Distribution”, he wants a smaller boat to traverse the creeks around Edisto Island, and he is cozy with the (DNR) Department of Natural Resources. Humm. What is he doing pulling favors with the DNR?

  15. TOUR permalink
    July 17, 2007 10:13 PM

    Thursday, November 02, 2006 Sanford/T-Rav/Eckstrom Tour Ends When Bus Runs Out of Gas !!!

    The Campaign for Fiscal Conservatism came to a sudden halt this afternoon when the bus transporting them ran out of gas, and none of the candidates were willing to pay for filling it back up.

    A large crowd gathered outside of Shaw Lumber in Florence, as the three candidates discussed why each of them couldn’t pay for the gas. The notoroiously frugal Sanford claimed that his staff took off with his jacket and wallet and were already en route to the next stop. Ravenel had concerns that by paying for the gas, he would be accused of “Buying the Election” by Grady Patterson troll Trav Robertson ( apparently, Patterson does little accusing since his infamous State interview). Meanwhile, Eckstrom simply said, “I’ve had enough trouble with vans this year, thank you.”

  16. STORY permalink
    July 17, 2007 10:14 PM

    How about the other local politicians and well known dignitaries that played in the snow with T-Rav. I noticed that the P&C has very little about this story, jeez I wonder why. Who are they trying to protect. I hear this story hits close to home with them, those in the know, know what I’m talking about. The party in the battery, the hidden cameras, those who flipped and mentioned names. A good investigative reporter could have a field day with this story and probably sell a screenplay. City Paper and The State-keep on top of this story because you own it. The P&C doesn’t want to get dirty with this one.

  17. Everything is fine permalink
    July 17, 2007 10:14 PM

    Everything is FINE! It’s fine, really, it’s fine. I’m not kidding…it’s fine. No, I’m not joking… everthing is fine. really…. Don’t pay attention to the campaign finance violations, or the suspended treasurer for cocaine distribution or emails indicating ethics violations, or the State Budget and Control Board in disarray, or employee’s bolting out of the Treasury Agency, or The DOT, or The SBCB. Don’t pay attention to the Treasurer that is so HIGH he can’t walk straight, everything is fine at the Treasury Dept. LISTEN TO ME! EVERYTHING IS FINE!

  18. No Harm permalink
    July 17, 2007 10:15 PM

    The Cocaine trade changes the financial, social, and moral fabric of a community, and it places everyone in danger, big time. It causes an exponential increase in the crime rate, i.e. Criminal Domestic Violence, Rape, Murder, Armed Robbery, Malicious Injury to Property, etc… the list goes on and on. Not to mention the illegal drug trafficking and distribution. Has Thomas Ravenel caused harmed to other people? He11 Yes! Has he caused damaged the reputation of the State of South Carolina? He11 Yes! Has he caused damage to the reputation of the Republican Party? He11 Yes! For anyone to say that Ravenel is just having a cocaine party and sharing with friends and not harming anyone is in denial.

  19. SAN permalink
    July 17, 2007 10:16 PM

    “He performed all the functions of the Treasurer’s Office fine during the time he’s been there,” he added. “I haven’t had day to day dealings with constitutional officers. I don’t go and hang out at their offices on a day to day basis.” The governor went on to say he doesn’t believe these charges will hurt the State Republican Party overall. He did say he thinks there’s a public distrust of political figures at all levels.

    HOW WOULD SANFORD KNOW IF RAVENEL DID “FINE” ? SANFORD CLAIMS HE WASN’T THERE!

  20. Beaufort permalink
    July 17, 2007 10:19 PM

    One can only wonder after reading today’s Beaufort Gazette blurb about Thomas Ravenal where the story will go next. Are Tommy’s local cronies and fellow coke pushers feeling a little nervous? His friends are rather well placed in our community(Beaufort) and have much to lose if ole Tommy can’t hold his mud and decides to trade them for his own freedom.

  21. July 17, 2007 11:40 PM

    No comments including profanity or serious allegations of a serious nature will be published on SCHotline.com. Please repost your comments in a civil manner.

    ~Jeffrey Sewell

  22. Willy permalink
    July 18, 2007 12:07 AM

    What a sad life that Andre hater must have. It is pathetic that someone can hate that much…I feel for him ,and pray for him..and hope he sees the foolishness of his way.

  23. Speedy Gonzalez permalink
    July 18, 2007 3:44 AM

    Speedy Gonzales said:

    So the funeral lasted an hour and a half? Or was he at a friend’s house? What are you saying, it was a drug run? I can see it now, “Hey old man, get in the plane, we’re going to Blacksburg to pick up some snow shoes.”

  24. Gamecocklover permalink
    July 18, 2007 10:24 AM

    How easy it is for anonymous people to sit in dimly lit bedrooms and post outrageous lies about others on the internet. How easy to take one small fact and surround it with innuendo and lie, and weave a story that is designed to discredit someone.

    At least a school yard bully has the fortitude to harm someone in person. Only a true coward …only a low life …would resort to the type of character assassination that has been exhibited on the blogs recently.

    Fortunately, most reasonable people realize that such moral deficiency is pitiful, and that the attacks say more about the sinner that wrote them, and not the person that is their intended target.

  25. NTSB permalink
    July 19, 2007 1:12 AM

    The private airport owner stated:” the pilot wanted to turn the airplane around before starting it. The pilot and three other personnel attempted to move the airplane by hand with “negative results”. The pilot entered the airplane, released the parking brake, exited the airplane, and attempted to move the airplane with “negative results”. The pilot and passenger entered the airplane. The pilot started the engine, turned the airplane around with “power”and taxied to runway 06 for VFR departure to Columbia”

    “Examination of runway 06 by the FAA after the accident revealed the airplane traveled 819 feet on the take off roll before encountering the dirt section of the runway. Two skid marks were present in the dirt section of the runway. The left skid mark was was measured 417 feet long and the right skid mark was measured 388 feet long.. The width of the Mooney M-20 E landing gear is 9 feet and three quarters of an inch long. The distance between the left and right main landing gear is skid marks are 9 feet and three quarters of an inch. Ten feet past the left skid mark appeared to be a tail strike mark on a stone with a bluish color. The bottom of the accident airplane is blue in color”.

    Why would the pilot turn the plane around under “power”, taxi, to takeoff when moments earlier four people were unable to roll the plane. Why would you have skid marks over the length of a football field.

  26. Bigger Fish permalink
    July 19, 2007 1:30 AM

    If Ravenel is convicted of distribution of cocaine, he can serve as much as 20 years in prison. I would say that it is more likely that he will cut a “plea deal” to serve a short amount of time behind bars along with probation.

    If Ravenel cuts a “plea deal”, in other words, “pleads guilty” then the Feds should insist that he roll over on a “Bigger Fish” If he does not roll over, then he should do some serious jail time with the rest of the “Cocaine Distributors”.

  27. Purpose permalink
    July 19, 2007 1:36 AM

    “The cause of South Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer’s plane crash has been identified, and it isn’t because “God has a purpose” for Bauer. No, Andre’s accident was his fault due to brakes on a plane!”

    First he gets caught speeding multiple times and worms his way out of it by playing the VIP card. Then he crashes his airplane upon take-off and tries to get out of it by playing the God card.

  28. Bruce permalink
    July 20, 2007 3:14 AM

    I’m Bruce I use my real name in Yahoo Mail although I know I don’t have to.
    Throughout most of last year I worked at the FBO (Owens Field) where Andre Bauer kept his Moony Aircraft. I helped Azalia Leonhardt pull out his aircraft many times.

    What’s not known about this story is it’s NOT Andre Bauer’s first mishap. In August of last year I was attending to the Athletic departments King Air on an early afternoon flight when I was watching an aircraft on approach. As it got close I looked in horror as I noticed the landing gear was UP!

    I quickly got on the FBO’s radio and called to the person at the line desk,AIRCRAFT LANDING NO GEAR DOWN! NO GEAR DOWN?. At about 2 feet from touchdown Andre pulled up so heard the aircraft strike the runway. Both myself the Pilot from USC’s Athletic department heard and saw the “Strike”.
    Â
    He (Andre Bauer) went around the landing pattern and this time safely landed. He taxied so fast down to his storage hanger he could have taken off again right then. Following this he locked his aircraft in the storage hanger and forbid anyone from seeing it or inspecting it.

    Later that day both the Airport manager (Jim Hamilton) and the FBO manager Kelly Hamilton) told me this: “Andre Bauer’s plane did not strike the runway!” (Wink Wink). even though I saw it do so and heard it too.

    What bothers me is IF the Airport managers had reported the Aircraft Strike� according to the Law? this accident (yesterday) might not have happened after Andre Bauer got his pilots license pulled for not reporting the Aircraft Strike? in August himself.

  29. Anonymous permalink
    July 27, 2007 1:23 AM

    Miller allegedly sold 14 grams of cocaine – about 1/2 ounce – to an undercover law enforcement officer at a Charleston apartment complex in January of last year, according to an arrest affidavit.

    If convicted of the state charge, Miller faces a prison term of three to 10 years and a fine of $25,000. Under state law, no part of the prison sentence may be suspended and no probation can be given.

  30. nonprophet permalink
    July 27, 2007 5:23 AM

    Ravenel is gay? No big deal — just add him to the long list of closeted gays who have been elected to public office, and currently serve in South Carolina.

  31. Anonymous permalink
    July 29, 2007 4:58 PM

    Spinach Wins First Prize Unfortunately Andre Bauer Does Not

    Oh, I am so excited……..it seems that Spinach took first prize at the Pillsbury Cook off, ummmm, I wonder, did that cook use the “Melody” variety spinach?….

    Poor Andre, such a lead foot. You’ll never take first prize that way Andre.

    Now, I have never met Andre Bauer personally, however at my last job I did work with a woman who is alledgedly dating him. During the time I worked with her she never discussed Andre having a lead foot but she did say that he went over to her house one day (must have been one of those rushing from occasion to occasion incidents) and mowed her grass. Did a darn good job of it from what I understand. Let’s just hope he wasn’t using a riding mower. Now I don’t know on what street this woman lives but I suspect if you ride around Columbia you will surely know her house when you see it, it will be the one with the “No Speeding” signs in the front yard.

    Yes, I live an interesting life I tell you, the people I have met and worked with. Now I am not going to name this woman because I never actually saw her and Andre together. I can tell you this though, you’ll know who she is when you see her, she is the one wearing those low cut blouses, bent over her desk so low that you can see everything between here and Gaffney. Now that should make things interesting in the State House if Andre gets re-elected and they end up getting married. Yeah, a match made in Heaven, both who in some people’s opinion might be considered “fast”. And after reading this blog, both ready to take roles in “Fast and Furious III”.

    Now that I have quelled the curious minds of South Carolina as to the mowing abilities of Andre Bauer there is still that one unanswered question…………………….(I must apologize to you of tender sensibilities in advance for what I am about to write) ………………………….the question of his girlfriend “giving head”. Yes, one day at work my supervisor was discussing this issue with the other processer in my office when in walked Andre’s girlfriend. My supervisor posed a question to her concerning this issue (yes, folks, I am not making this up, ask Andre’s girlfriend).

    The minutes ticked by………I waited in anticipation……..for the answer………………….fortunately for Andre, his girlfriend had the class (unlike my supervisor at the time) to just roll her eyes and walk away from the question. Too bad, given Andre’s recent driving disaster the answer to that question just might have picked him up a few votes at the polls. Golly gosh, the curious minds of South Carolina will never know just how fast he really is. Can you see him being clocked at 101 in bed? That being the case, I am sure the women of South Carolina would give him a standing ovation and not some darn ticket!

  32. Anonymous permalink
    August 1, 2007 1:58 AM

    Trafficking is not limited to the substantive offenses of purchasing, possessing, and selling large amounts of controlled substances. Conspiring and attempting to do those acts also constitute trafficking. The part of the trafficking statute pertinent to this case is as follows: “Any person who knowingly … attempts[] or conspires to … purchase … ten grams or more of cocaine … is guilty of a felony which is known as ‘trafficking in cocaine.’” S.C. Code Ann. § 44-53-370(e)(2) (2002).

  33. Anonymous permalink
    August 18, 2007 1:42 AM

    South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is attempting to deny Lt. Governor Andre Bauer the security detail that was authorized by the Legislature this past session. In addition, our sources are saying that this is coming directly from the Governor’s office to SLED Chief Robert Stewart.
    During a contentious budget battle this past legislative year, the Governor attempted to veto funding for a security detail and driver that would be assigned to Lt. Governor Bauer, but his efforts were overridden. Now it seems that SLED is denying the detail based on opinions of staff attorneys working for the department. The back story is that Governor Sanford has his guiding hand on this and is further causing tension (if possible) between the his office…and well…just about everyone.
    Bob Peeler ended the practice of providing a security detail for the Lt. Governor when he was in office. Its reinstatement has been opposed by many legislators who see it as a waste of taxpayer’s money. However those same Legislators who opposed it during debate now see it as a done deal and don’t appreciate the Govenor’s attempt to thwart them through back channels.
    So far this is speculative, but from good sources. Does it even matter anymore if the Gov is pissing off Legislators, or vice versa? Don’t they hate each other enough already?

  34. Edisto Beach permalink
    August 22, 2007 5:02 AM

    Prosecutors said taxpayers paid for the sisters’ spending sprees, which included four homes in Edisto Beach, 10 luxury cars, boats, and expensive jewelry from New York and Alaska vacations.

    C & D co-owner Charlene Corley, 46, was charged with wire fraud and money laundering and pleaded guilty to both Thursday. A sentencing date has not been set.

    She was accused of bilking taxpayers by inflating shipping costs for Defense Department materials that cost a few dollars.

    In one example, C & D collected $998,798 to ship two 19-cent bolt washers, court documents show.

    Corley’s twin sister, Darlene Wooten, shot herself Oct. 2 after Defense Department investigators confronted her with evidence of a nine-year scheme that included billing the Pentagon for $71.6 million in shipping costs.

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