Two County Councilmen removed from important penny tax committee

Two County Councilmen removed from important penny tax committee

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Richland County councilman who was arrested just weeks ago on tax charges has been removed from an important council committee.

Council Chairman Torrey Rush said Councilman Kelvin Washington has been taken off the county's Transportation Ad Hoc Committee. That committee oversees projects related to the county's Transportation Penny Tax.

Right now, the penny program is under the microscope after an audit by the Department of Revenue found "multiple instances of illegal activity by individuals and/or companies associated with the Penny Program." Because of that audit, officials say they discovered criminal activity that wasn't directly related to the penny program. As a result, Councilman Washington was charged with three counts of willful failure to file a tax return.

While Washington was replaced on the county's Transportation Committee, he wasn't the only one. Councilman Norman Jackson has been replaced too.

When asked why he removed the two councilmen, Rush said all committees are reappointed at the beginning of the year, so he decided to reshuffle the committee.

Councilman Seth Rose has been added on. Rush is still looking for the second replacement.

The change comes just days before a very big meeting of that committee on Tuesday afternoon, where councilmen will discuss a collection of proposals meant to fix the problems with the Penny Tax program.

Councilman Rose introduced the majority of the measures and said he's excited about the new leadership role.

"A very important meeting, and it's the first step in moving forward and getting some corrective measures in place and some protective measures in place," Rose said. "And I wanted to be a part of the committee, so I could help advocate for these motions and other measures that I think will be very important moving forward."

We reached out to Councilman Washington for comment, but didn't hear back.

Meanwhile, Councilman Jackson was very upset he was removed from the committee since he said he's an expert when it comes to transportation. He said it could be some kind of cover-up but didn't elaborate. He said he will be at the meeting on Tuesday, even though he's no longer serving on that committee.

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