South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell on Tuesday denied once again that he has done anything wrong and called for a state police review of an ethics complaint against him to be made public.
Harrell’s comments came a day after the State Attorney General’s Office revealed it had sent Harrell’s case to the state grand jury. “The facts still are that I have not broken the law. Nothing has changed from that standpoint. I still have not done anything wrong and fully expect that will be the ultimate outcome of this process.”
Harrell said he had expected Attorney General Alan Wilson to drop its investigation, and that he was “blindsided” by Monday’s announcement. Harrell claimed the investigation was politically motivated (Wilson faces re-election later this year) and pushed by his enemies.
He called on Wilson’s office to release a report filed by the State Law Enforcement Division after its investigation, saying he has not read it. But a spokesman for the AG’s Office said the report cannot be made public until the grand jury finishes its review.
However, Harrell refused repeated requests from reporters to release his own documents he turned over to investigators. “I think the report needs to be released that has everything in its context. It has all the records. It would have everything in it.”
But Common Cause executive director John Crangle, one of those pushing the investigation, said Harrell should just release his own records if he truly believes he is innocent. “Some reporters have been trying to get the information from him for a long time and he hasn’t released it,” he said after Harrell’s press conference. “Why doesn’t he release his side of the story? It’s a very weak argument.”
Several groups, including Common Cause and conservative thinktank S.C. Policy Council, filed the complaint with the Attorney General’s Office last year. The complaint accuses Harrell of using his position to get favorable treatment for a pharmacy he owns, as well improperly reimbursing himself for flights in his private plane during state business. Harrell calls the original complaint “baseless” and maintains it is a smear campaign.