Thad Westbrook - Alan Wilson - 10 to 15 missing contributions to his gala

Posted in the Hilton Head Island Forum

FailureToReport

Benson, NC

#1 Feb 22, 2013
"Wilson's campaign is preparing an amended campaign disclosure report to account for 10 to 15 missing contributions to his gala, said Columbia attorney Thad Westbrook, the attorney general's 2010 campaign chairman."

"Westbrook said the failure to include a group of checks for the gala was an oversight. He did not have a total amount that was omitted. "We're looking to make sure we've got everything."

Bobby Harrell should step aside as speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives, a political watchdog group said Thursday.
But the group delayed voting on whether state Attorney General Alan Wilson, R-Lexington, should recuse himself from the probe of the powerful Charleston Republican.

Harrell's office said the speaker has no plans to relinquish his leadership role. Harrell has denied any wrongdoing.

The board of the S.C. chapter of Common Cause voted unanimously that Harrell should not remain speaker while authorities examine complaints that he violated S.C. ethics rules by reimbursing himself $280,000 from his campaign account, appointing his brother to a commission that nominates judicial candidates and using his position to help his pharmaceutical business.

Wilson referred the allegations against Harrell to SLED last week after receiving them from the libertarian S.C. Policy Council think tank.

The Common Cause board delayed voting on whether Wilson, a first-term Republican, should recuse himself because he accepted a $3,500 donation from Harrell's campaign for the attorney general's 2011 inaugural gala.

Wilson also received another $3,500 from a political action committee tied to Harrell during his 2010 campaign.

Wilson returned the $7,000 in Harrell-affiliated contributions this week.

The contributions have the appearance of conflict, said John Crangle, S.C. director of Common Cause. But Common Cause wants to wait until Wilson can sort out questions about donations to his gala.

Wilson's campaign is preparing an amended campaign disclosure report to account for 10 to 15 missing contributions to his gala, said Columbia attorney Thad Westbrook, the attorney general's 2010 campaign chairman.

Harrell listed his contribution to Wilson's gala as a campaign expense, but the $3,500 was not on Wilson's campaign forms filed with the S.C. Ethics Commission.

Westbrook said the failure to include a group of checks for the gala was an oversight. He did not have a total amount that was omitted. "We're looking to make sure we've got everything."

Wilson accepts responsibility for the contributions not being disclosed, his spokesman Mark Powell said.

The attorney general has spearheaded ethics-reform efforts, including forming a Public Integrity Unit that includes SLED and the state Ethics Commission.

Powell said Wilson demonstrated his commitment to ethics reform by working quickly to resolve the gala-contribution issue when it was brought to his attention this week and speaking with the media. "Officials who advocate for better enforcement of ethics laws and higher standards of integrity should practice what they preach."

Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/2013/02/21/238922...
WhereDidTheMoney Go

Benson, NC

#2 Feb 22, 2013
S.C. Attorney General Didn't Report Campaign Contributions
by Corey Hutchins, February 21st 09:27am

In the wake of Republican Attorney General Alan Wilson asking state law enforcement to investigate South Carolina’s most powerful politician, House Speaker Bobby Harrell, Wilson now faces scrutiny about his own campaign finances.

Wilson will have to amend some two-year-old campaign finance reports because at least a dozen contributions he should have disclosed were never reported, his campaign chairman Thad Westbrook told Free Times in response to an inquiry from the paper.

At issue is how Wilson funded a Jan. 14, 2011 inauguration party to celebrate his win. The event, for which Wilson solicited money from donors to attend, took place at The Hall at Senate, and cost ticket holders $100 or $150 per couple. The black-tie affair, which featured a live band, food, dancing and drinks, also had tiered sponsorships for $10,000 and $5,000, according to someone asked to donate.

"It was a campaign event," Westbrook says, and was paid for by Wilson's Alan Wilson for Attorney General campaign account.

A campaign for statewide office in South Carolina can only take in a maximum of $3,500 from an individual donor. Westbrook says high-dollar sponsorships were split among individual donors and bundled to make a Platinum or Gold sponsorship without violating the maximum contribution limit.

But many of the donations that went to pay for the inaugural gala were never reported on Wilson's campaign disclosure reports, something Westbrook chalked up to a clerical error.

Questions first arose about how the gala was funded when Free Times reported Feb. 18 that House Speaker Bobby Harrell had given $3,500 from his campaign account to “Alan Wilson for Attorney General.” Dated Jan. 6, 2011, the donation was itemized as going to pay for “Sponsorship of inaugural gala.”

Interestingly, no campaign contribution from Harrell ever showed up in Wilson’s campaign finance reports, according to State Ethics Commission general counsel Cathy Hazelwood. Candidates must report political contributions to the State Ethics Commission. They become public documents and can be viewed online.

It is against state law for one candidate to give money from his or her campaign to another candidate’s campaign, Hazelwood says.

After the Free Times story ran, which questioned the appearance of an improper campaign-to-campaign contribution from Harrell, Wilson announced he would refund the money.

Wilson’s spokesman, Mark Powell, said a check for the refunded donation was mailed the afternoon of Feb. 19. That raised a question: How could Wilson direct his campaign to refund money it never reported receiving?

Responding to that question, Wilson's campaign chairman Westbrook said he and others had looked back into old campaign records and found roughly a dozen other contributions related to the gala that Wilson had failed to disclose. He said the campaign would amend its disclosure reports.(Westbrook also told a reporter for the Charleston Post & Courier, who published a report on the discrepencies Feb. 20.)
Westbrook says Wilson's team considered setting up a separate committee to handle the event, but decided against it. Instead, they just took all the money raised and put it into Wilson's campaign account. Therefore, Wilson's inaugural party was a campaign event, Westbrook says. In this telling, not reporting the money on Wilson's campaign disclosures was just sloppy bookkeeping.

So, how could Speaker Bobby Harrell have given $3,500 from his own campaign account to Wilson's, which would have been improper? Westbrook says Harrell might have thought he was donating to a separate committee, not Wilson's campaign. For his part, Westbrook says everyone on Wilson's side thought the Harrell donation was actually a personal contribution from Harrell and his wife.

Regardless, it still never showed up in Wilson's financial reports like it should have.

source Free Times
WhereDidTheMoney Go

Benson, NC

#3 Feb 22, 2013
By Andrew Shain — ashain@thestate.com

COLUMBIA — Bobby Harrell should step aside as speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives, a political watchdog group said Thursday.
The board of the S.C. chapter of Common Cause voted unanimously that Harrell should not remain as speaker while authorities examine complaints that he violated S.C. ethics rules by reimbursing himself $280,000 from his campaign account, appointing his brother to a commission that nominates judicial candidates and using his position to help his pharmaceutical business.
Wilson referred the allegations against Harrell to SLED last week after receiving them from the libertarian S.C. Policy Council think tank.

The Common Cause board delayed voting on whether Wilson, a first-term Republican, should recuse himself because he accepted a $3,500 donation from Harrell’s campaign for the attorney general’s 2011 inaugural gala. Wilson also received another $3,500 from a political action committee tied to Harrell during his 2010 campaign.

Wilson returned the $7,000 in Harrell-affiliated contributions this week.

The contributions have the appearance of conflict, said John Crangle, S.C. director of Common Cause. But Common Cause wants to wait until Wilson can sort out questions about donations to his gala.

Wilson’s campaign is preparing an amended campaign disclosure report to account for 10 to 15 missing contributions to his gala, said Columbia attorney Thad Westbrook, the attorney general’s 2010 campaign chairman. Harrell listed his contribution to Wilson’s gala as a campaign expense, but the $3,500 was not on Wilson’s campaign forms filed with the S.C. Ethics Commission.

Westbrook said the failure to include a group of checks for the gala was an oversight. He did not have a total amount that was omitted. Wilson accepts responsibility for the contributions not being disclosed, his spokesman Mark Powell said.

The attorney general has spearheaded ethics-reform efforts, including forming a Public Integrity Unit that includes SLED and the state Ethics Commission.

“Officials who advocate for better enforcement of ethics laws and higher standards of integrity should practice what they preach.”

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2013/02/21/463839...
ClericalError

Benson, NC

#4 Feb 22, 2013
"Alan Wilson returns contributions affiliated with Bobby Harrell"
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS)-
After his office requested SLED investigate the state Speaker of the House, Attorney General Alan Wilson is returning $7,000 worth of contributions affiliated with Speaker Bobby Harrell.

Wilson's campaign committee says one of those contributions for $3,500 came from the Palmetto Leadership Council, a PAC connected to the Speaker.

The second $3,500 contribution, according to the committee, was a personal contribution from Harrell to sponsor an inaugural ball in Wilson's honor.

"As to past contributions my campaign has received from the Palmetto Leadership Council and/or Bobby Harrell personally, the Attorney General's Office is in no way conflicted in our responsibility to uphold the law. However, appearance does matter. Therefore, I have instructed my campaign to refund both contributions. I am doing this in an abundance of caution to avoid even the slightest appearance or impression that this office could be compromised in any way."

It turns out at least one of two contributions from Harrell for Wilson's inaugural party in 2011 did not show up on his campaign disclosure report.

Wilson's campaign manager, Thad Westbrook, told Columbia's Free Times that was a clerical error, Westbrook also says a more extensive review of the report indicates at least a dozen contributions were not included.

As for a potential SLED investigation, the South Carolina Policy Council President Ashley Landess alleges Harrell committed ethics violations.

Harrell has called the allegations a "baseless attack that is driven by personal and political vendetta."
http://www.wistv.com/story/21252749/alan-wils...
OutofTown

Benson, NC

#6 Feb 22, 2013
SC attorney general under scrutiny for not reporting donations

SEANNA ADCOX
The Associated Press
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013 at 4:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 22, 2013 at 4:09 p.m.
COLUMBIA — South Carolina's top prosecutor is under scrutiny for not reporting roughly a dozen donations on campaign filings.

The former campaign manager for Attorney General Alan Wilson told reporters this week that 10 to 15 contributions to Wilson's January 2011 inaugural ball were mistakenly not reported. Thad Westbrook says Wilson's campaign reports will be amended.

Wilson funded the gala through his campaign, rather than creating a separate account, as is frequently done for such events.

Westbrook told The Associated Press he was out of town Friday and could not answer questions. A campaign consultant had not provided answers to questions about Wilson's records by Friday afternoon.

The issue came up after Wilson said he would return money from House Speaker Bobby Harrell — money listed on Harrell's campaign filings, but not Wilson's.

http://www.goupstate.com/article/20130222/WIR... -
TotalValueUnknow n

Benson, NC

#7 Feb 22, 2013
by Post and Courier

"S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson’s campaign did not report some contributions"

COLUMBIA — S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s campaign did not report several contributions for Wilson’s 2011 inaugural gala, including a $3,500 donation from House Speaker Bobby Harrell, Wilson’s former campaign chairman said today.
The chairman, Nelson Mullins attorney Thad Westbrook, said the contributions, which he thinks number between 10 and 15, were not reported because of a clerical error.
The oversight was not discovered until this week, he said.
Westbrook said he didn’t yet know the total value of the unreported contributions.
Wilson on Tuesday said he was returning the contribution from Harrell and another $3,500 contribution from a group tied to the House speaker.

Cathy Hazelwood, an attorney for the State Ethics Commission, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Read more in upcoming editions of The Post and Courier. Reach Stephen Largen follow him on Twitter @stephenlargen.

http://www.postandcourier.com/article/2013022...
NoAnswers

Benson, NC

#8 Feb 22, 2013
By SEANNA ADCOX — Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C.— South Carolina's top prosecutor is under scrutiny for not reporting roughly a dozen donations on campaign filings.

The former campaign manager for Attorney General Alan Wilson told reporters this week that 10 to 15 contributions to Wilson's January 2011 inaugural ball were mistakenly not reported. Thad Westbrook says Wilson's campaign reports will be amended.

Wilson funded the gala through his campaign, rather than creating a separate account, as is frequently done for such events.

Westbrook told The Associated Press he was out of town Friday and could not answer questions. A campaign consultant had not provided answers to questions about Wilson's records by Friday afternoon.

The issue came up after Wilson said he would return money from House Speaker Bobby Harrell - money listed on Harrell's campaign filings, but not Wilson's.

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2013/02/22/2644233/wi...
NoAnswers

Benson, NC

#9 Feb 22, 2013
by Post and Courier

"Wilson earlier this week returned a $3,500 donation from Harrell’s campaign account and another $3,500 contribution from the Palmetto Leadership Council, a committee Harrell is affiliated with. Crangle has raised questions as to whether the $3,500 contribution from Harrell to Wilson for his 2011 inaugural gala was legal."

"State law bars contributions from one candidate’s campaign coffers to another candidate’s account. And Ethics Commission attorney Cathy Hazelwood said this week a candidate shouldn’t use his or her campaign funds for a donation to an event such as an inaugural gala because campaign expenditures “have to bear a fairly direct relationship to a candidate’s re-election or to the office they’re holding.” Harrell’s office has disputed that assessment."

http://www.postandcourier.com/article/2013022...
ReturnDaCash

Benson, NC

#10 Feb 23, 2013
By fitsnews – February 19, 2013

SC ATTORNEY GENERAL RETURNS HARRELL CASH
ALAN WILSON'S OFFICE SAYS "APPEARANCE DOES MATTER"

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson has returned a pair of contributions from embattled S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell and his controversial political action committee.

“The Attorney General’s Office is in no way conflicted in our responsibility to uphold the law,” Wilson said in a statement.“However, appearance does matter. Therefore, I have instructed my campaign to refund both contributions. I am doing this in an abundance of caution to avoid even the slightest appearance or impression that this office could be compromised in any way.”

Harrell’s Palmetto Leadership Council gave Wilson’s 2010 campaign $3,500 in October of 2010. In January 2011, Harrell’s campaign committee gave Wilson’s inaugural committee another $3,500.

That latter contribution has caused some heartburn at the S.C. State Ethics Commission, which referred to Harrell’s contribution as “inappropriate.”

“It would be a huge stretch for a candidate to say that that was an acceptable expenditure,” S.C. Ethics Commission attorney Cathy Hazelwood told The (Columbia, S.C.) Free Times.“I would see that as unrelated to the campaign or the office.”

Last week Wilson’s office referred an ethics complaint against Harrell to the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED)– an agency which serves S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, a longtime Harrell nemesis.

Why is that ironic? Because just last year Haley escaped prosecution for her own ethical lapses.

Harrell is facing a host of allegations – including the receipt of improper reimbursements, the misappropriation and misreporting of campaign funds and influence peddling.

http://www.fitsnews.com/2013/02/19/sc-attorne...
anAbundance

Benson, NC

#12 Feb 23, 2013
Group calls on Harrell to relinquish speaker’s post while inquiry ongoing

Friday, February 22, 2013

COLUMBIA — A state government watchdog group Thursday called on House Speaker Bobby Harrell of Charleston to step down as speaker while an inquiry into accusations he used his office and campaign account for personal gain is ongoing.

John Crangle, the executive director of S.C. Common Cause, said the group’s board will decide whether to ask Harrell to resign his office permanently after more information is known from a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division inquiry.

Crangle said the board Thursday also delayed a decision on whether to ask state Attorney General Alan Wilson to recuse himself in a prospective Harrell investigation.

Wilson’s office has said he will not recuse himself.

Wilson earlier this week returned a $3,500 donation from Harrell’s campaign account and another $3,500 contribution from the Palmetto Leadership Council, a committee Harrell is affiliated with. Crangle has raised questions as to whether the $3,500 contribution from Harrell to Wilson for his 2011 inaugural gala was legal.

State law bars contributions from one candidate’s campaign coffers to another candidate’s account. And Ethics Commission attorney Cathy Hazelwood said this week a candidate shouldn’t use his or her campaign funds for a donation to an event such as an inaugural gala because campaign expenditures “have to bear a fairly direct relationship to a candidate’s re-election or to the office they’re holding.” Harrell’s office has disputed that assessment.

This week, Wilson’s 2010 campaign chairman said the $3,500 from Harrell for the inaugural gala was among 10 to 15 contributions for the event that were mistakenly not disclosed on Wilson’s campaign disclosure forms.

The chairman, attorney Thad Westbrook, said the campaign will file an amended disclosure form that includes the previously missing contributions.

Wilson’s move to return the contributions from Harrell and the Palmetto Leadership Council came after the Republican attorney general last week referred an ethics complaint against Harrell to SLED.

Wilson explained in a statement this week that he was returning the contributions from Harrell and the Harrell-tied group “in an abundance of caution to avoid even the slightest appearance or impression that this office could be compromised in any way.”

Wilson will be in a position to pursue further investigation or prosecution of Harrell if SLED finds evidence to pursue.

Wilson asked the law enforcement agency last week to assign an agent to conduct an initial inquiry into criminal allegations against Harrell.

Among other things, the Republican House speaker has been accused of using his campaign account and office for personal gain by the leader of the S.C. Policy Council.

http://postandcourier.com/article/20130222/PC...
SixtyEightContri butions

Louisburg, NC

#13 Mar 24, 2013
Alan Wilson's campaign left $134,000 off previous filings.

By SEANNA ADCOX
Associated Press
Posted: Friday, Mar. 22, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. South Carolina's top prosecutor amended his campaign filings Friday to account for $134,000 in donations and expenses previously unreported on disclosures surrounding his 2010 election win.

Attorney General Alan Wilson's campaign chairman Thad Westbrook attributed the 68 donations and 16 payments to human error.

"They were all simple clerical or scrivener's errors, and they have all been corrected," said Thad Westbrook. "The individuals who made those errors are no longer involved with the campaign's disclosures. Today, new systems are in place safeguarding against such mistakes."

The 59 checks and nine online donations that came in after Wilson won the office totaled $66,890, ranging from $5 to the $3,500-per-campaign-cycle limit for statewide candidates. The payments totaled $66,797 - more than 80 percent of them to two vendors for television production and consulting, according to the information provided by the campaign.

The corrected reports were filed online four weeks after the unreported donations were discovered.

The first-term Republican attorney general, Alan Wilson responding to a report in the Free Times, said he would return money that House Speaker Bobby Harrell gave for Alan Wilson's Jan. 11 gala. However, while Harrell's online filings listed his $3,500 sponsorship, Wilson's did not.

Thad Westbrook initially estimated that 10 to 15 donations were mistakenly unreported. That number represented other sponsors for Alan Wilson's inaugural gala that were unaccounted for in his online filings.

But an independent accountant Alan Wilson's campaign hired to review his account found many more mistakes. The campaign asked for the review to cover a nine-month span.

But 80 percent of the unreported donations were deposited in the bank on two days, Jan. 6 and Jan. 14. Five donations totaling $7,600 were deposited in late 2010.

The eight donations of $3,500 include Harrell's.

"When human beings are involved, mistakes are inevitable," Thad Westbrook said.

Alan Wilson also last month returned $3,500 donated in October 2010 from a political action committee affiliated with Harrell. The decision to return $7,000 came days after Alan Wilson forwarded an ethics complaint against Harrell to the State Law Enforcement Division for investigation, largely over questions about Harrell's campaign filings. Harrell has denied wrongdoing.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/03/22/3 ...
Foreclosure Fraud

Fayetteville, NC

#16 Oct 4, 2013
Merely having paperwork doesn’t mean you have a legitimate claim. The Court found that the Carpenter case from 130 years ago stated the requirements quite plainly. The Supreme Court decision “clearly supports the notion that the Plaintiff must own the Note and Mortgage at the time the Complaint was filed.” The Court was also obviously disturbed by the fact that MERS was the mortgagee but never mentioned in the note.
Translation: as close as I can get in lay terms the Court is merely stating the obvious. At least it was obvious before the Courts lost their way in the maze of legal arguments and procedures attempted by players in the cloud of false securitization claims.
If your lawsuit is based upon a loan you must allege that the loan was made. If your action is based upon acquisition of the loan you still must allege that the loan was made and that you actually paid for acquisition of the loan. Otherwise the claim is speculative and cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the Court. Without that the second requirement is impossible to meet — that you have suffered damages as a result of the making the loan and the borrower not repaying it. These are not mere empty recitals. Without them, no lawsuit can continue.

FULL STORY
http://livinglies.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/so...
Foreclosure Fraud

Fayetteville, NC

#17 Oct 4, 2013
Thus payments received should be allocated to all the loan accounts in that tranche. To say otherwise would require a homeowner to default on a loan in order to get the allocation — obviously a result that any sane person would want to avoid. The sole assets of the tranche are the loans according to the Wall Street players and their paperwork. Hence the account receivable for each loan would be allocable to each loan in the pool based upon some reasonable formula and not necessarily pro rata. The bankers take advantage of this complexity and serve themselves a full cup of fees in the “breakage” that results from the allocation of those payments. Then they serve themselves again by not informing the investor that money has been received because the bankers say that the money received was a proprietary trade of the bank.
In short they keep money that should have been allocated to the account receivable of the investor. By not doing that they cheated the investor. But the fact they were so obviously the agent of the investor means that wherever the money landed, it must, from the perspective of the borrower or other outsiders to the cloud, be allocated for purposes of computation of the real unpaid balance of the creditor, after taking into account amounts held by the agent for the investor regardless of whether the agent willingly gives it up.
It’s difficult but not impossible to follow. The bottom line is that most of the money from many of the loans ended up in the pocket of the bankers who were supposed to act merely as intermediaries. And by the sheer power of their influence to declare the insurance and the derivative securities and hedges to be neither insurance nor securities, they are allowed to insure the same asset over and over again, without ever reporting to the investor that the account receivable has been paid down. That is why bank profits are high while investors are reporting losses.
This results in the account payable of the borrower remaining as though no payment had been received. Since the payments received were explicitly not purchases, they can only be accounted for as loss mitigation payments not merely bets by underwriters who were betting against the same securities they were selling to pension funds and other investors like credit unions and other vulnerable institutions.
Thus we find ourselves in a rabbit hole where the courts are largely refusing to see what is front of them even when it is well presented. All we ask is that the Court require compliance with requirements of pleading and proof. The complex facts will be revealed as one layer after another is unveiled through discovery.

FULL STORY
http://livinglies.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/so...
EthicsViolation

Farmville, NC

#21 Mar 8, 2014
Alan Wilson Forced to Return Campaign Funds on Ethics Violation

South Carolina's top prosecutor Alan Wilson needs to refund $200 to a lobbyist who donated to his 2010 campaign, the State Ethics Commission said Friday.

Commission attorney Cathy Hazelwood said she sent letters Thursday to Attorney General Alan Wilson and former state Rep. Joyce Hearn, who gave $150 to his campaign Chairman Thad Westbrook in November 2009 and $50 in March 2010. State law bars legislators and statewide officers from taking money from lobbyists, and Hearn was a registered lobbyist for the South Carolina Credit Union League both years.

The prohibition "goes both ways. A lobbyist can't give, and a candidate can't receive," Hazelwood said.

Her letter gives Alan Wilson's campaign Chairman Thad Westbrook 10 days to fix the problem.

Wilson's political consultant, Richard Quinn, said Friday the campaign was unaware Hearn was a lobbyist then.

But Hazelwood said it doesn't matter when Hearn's lobbying job ended. Lobbyists can't make a donation at any time during a year they lobby the Legislature, even if the job lasts only a day, she said.

"The termination of the relationship does nothing," she said.

Hearn, a House member from 1975-1989, worked as a lobbyist for the credit union league from January through May of 2009 and 2010, corresponding with the January-to-June legislative session. She continued lobbying for the league through June 2013, according to her disclosures with the ethics commission.

Her donations were first reported by the Charleston Free Times.

Last March, Wilson's campaign Manager Thad Westbrook corrected his filings after a review by an independent accountant found $134,000 in previously unreported donations and expenses surrounding his 2010 win. His campaign chairman Chairman Thad Westbrook attributed the 68 donations and 16 payments to human error.

As South Carolina's attorney general, Alan Wilson's job includes prosecuting criminal violations of ethics law.

Asked whether errors in Alan Wilson's own campaign filings affect his ability to do that, John Crangle of Common Cause said it points to a needed change in the system. Crangle has long argued the SC attorney general's race should be publicly funded. Any attorney general taking private money from special interest groups is "fundamentally an invitation to corruption," Crangle said.

"It shows at a minimum that some campaign Chairman Thad Westbrook fumbled the ball," he said. "It does cast a cloud."

Wilson's investigation into former GOP Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resulted in Ard resigning and pleading guilty in 2012 to misdemeanor ethics violations. That came nine months after Ard paid a $48,000 fine to the state Ethics Commission.

In January, Alan Wilson announced he'd sent ethics allegations against House Speaker Bobby Harrell to the grand jury, a month after receiving a report from the State Law Enforcement Division. Harrell, R-Charleston, maintains he's done nothing wrong and said the announcement's timing, a day before the legislative session started, appeared to be aimed at hurting him politically.

http://www.postandcourier.com/article/2014030...

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