Harrell: State Grand Jury investigation intended to inflict poli - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Harrell: State Grand Jury investigation intended to inflict politcal damage

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS/AP) - South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell is again calling on the attorney general to immediately release a state police review of ethics allegations against him.

He repeated his request Tuesday, shortly before the opening of the 2014 legislative session.

"I fully expected that any day now there would be a release from the AG's office saying the investigation was over and there was no factual reason to pursue it any further," said Harrell. "To have that expectation and then get blindsided by the events of yesterday was more than disappointing."

Attorney General Alan Wilson handed over his review of ethics allegations against Harrell to the State Grand Jury on Monday. The announcement came a month after the state's chief prosecutor received the report from the State Law Enforcement Division.

"I also don't believe it was a coincidence that this release was made on the eve of the legislative session," said Harrell. "I believe it was intended to inflict political damage to me."

Wilson had asked SLED last February to review allegations brought by a libertarian group. Wilson's office said it would be illegal to release the report.

We started investigating Harrell's campaign spending after seeing him directly reimbursing himself from his campaign. He spent nearly $300,000 on travel -- much of that went to pay for flights on his private plane.

Harrell also spent campaign cash on cell phones, computers, equipment, and for membership to two of the city's private dinner clubs.

John Crangle was one of the State House watch dogs who convinced Wilson to open the investigation into harrell's campaign spending.

"Bobby Harrell is just making excuses for himself," said Crangle.

Crangle says harrell could set the record straight and end everything today if he would just hand over his records.

"Why didn't he release the information? Jody Barr's been trying to get it from him, some other reporters have been trying to get the information from him for a long time and he hasn't released it," said Crangle. "Why doesn't he release his side of the story?"

Harrell calls the complaint a baseless attack and smear campaign. The Charleston Republican says he was shocked by Wilson's decision. Harrell repeated that he's done nothing wrong.

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