Random State Political Update December 5, 2007Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
NO LOCAL “CARPETGATE,” MORE ON PAYDAY LENDING LAWSUIT, WORKERS’ COMP “STONEWALL” & INEZ
FITSNews – December 5, 2007 – For the past ten minutes we’ve been investigating whether or not a carpet and flooring company that has made campaign contributions to state budget writers Dan Cooper and Hugh Leatherman was also the beneficiary of a statwide no-bid contract worth millions of dollars. Of course we also munched on some delicious red seeded grapes, took a long-overdue bathroom break and whooped the New Orleans Saints’ asses in a little Madden ’08 football while we were at it … making us talented multi-taskers, baby!
Anyway, despite some potentially questionable decisions benefitting this particular company by the folks over at the S.C. Procurement Office (part of the State Budget & Control Board), we’ve been unable at this point to uncover any evidence of a pay-to-play scam. That’s because according to the board’s spokesman Mike Sponhour, “there is no statewide corporate carpet contract,” and bids for carpet and flooring projects are administered by the individual agencies “on a job-by-job basis.” So yeah, for now we better just stick with the national “carpetgate” story.
PAYDAY LENDING UPDATE – We wrote recently about another lawyer-legislator shakedown in South Carolina, this one involving thirteen state legislators who stand to make millions of dollars by going after the payday lending industry in a series of class action lawsuits. Aside from the obvious potential for abusing the public trust, we were surprised to learn from a reporter friend of ours today that two of the State Senators who are pushing this legal jihad (John Hawkins and Vincent Sheheen) still sit on a committee that is charged with writing our state’s payday lending laws.
In fact, they’ve even heard testimony in the past from some of the same people they now represent …
Again, we’re not trying to become “payday lender defenders” or anything (although that rhymes rather nicely), but absolutely nothing about this situation strikes us as being even remotely on the level. It’s also remarkable how the mainstream media, particularly our own La Socialista, won’t write a word about this clear conflict of interest, but has devoted one-fourth of its editorial board to bashing the payday lending industry.
It’s a lot like the newspaper’s cozy relationship with the University of South Carolina, which pretty much consists of the school telling La Socialista to “jump,” and the newspaper asking “how high?” Seriously, USC could announce a plan to murder every first-born male in the state and La Socialista would probably write a glowing front-page article about what a great idea it was and how we ought to give them eleventy kabillion dollars to pull it off.
THE WORKERS’ COMP BRICK WALL – For the second time this year, South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Commission is refusing to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking specific details of awards and attorneys’ fees from their rulings, both of which are sort of important if you’re trying to determine whether or not commissioners are doing their jobs. Of course in addition to being important, these documents are also public record, or at least they’re supposed to be.
South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act states that: “it is vital in a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner so that citizens shall be advised of the performance of public officials and of the decisions that are reached in public activity and in the formulation of public policy.”
Sadly, acts of defiance like this remind us once again that the notion of transparency in government continues to be little more than a pipe dream in South Carolina.
INEZ IS KINDA HOT – This has nothing to do with anything, but we were strutting into the local Starbucks yesterday afternoon for our daily venti mocha frappuncino fix and happened to bump into former State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum. Who was looking pretty damn good, people.
Sure, we disagree with 100% of everything that’s ever emanated from her ruby red lips, but she’s got a brunette, older Meg Ryan “thing” going that’s definitely working for her. And she’s an impeccable dresser to boot. Hot for former Superintendent? You better believe it, baby!