My Take: Solicitor Dan Johnson is on the hot seat - to say the least

My Take: Solicitor Dan Johnson is on the hot seat - to say the least

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's an antiquated term, but the position of a solicitor is an important one.

Think of a solicitor as an elected prosecutor or district attorney - AKA the person who fights for you in court if you ever become a victim of a crime. There are 15 judicial circuits across our state, and voters in each one elect a solicitor every four years.

Right now, I want to focus on the Fifth Circuit, which includes Richland and Kershaw Counties. Dan Johnson is the solicitor there, and he has been since 2010.

But for the past month or so Johnson and his staff have been in the hot seat - to say the least. A citizen watchdog group has been releasing thousands of documents that show just how Johnson and his staff have been spending your public money.

And - let me be clear - what's in those documents is very concerning - maybe even disturbing.

So far, we've found a receipt for almost a dozen cases of beer, invoices for a $13,000 Christmas party complete with catered beef tenderloin, and bank statements chock-full of travel to exotic destinations across the globe - including the Middle East, Europe, even the Galapagos Islands.

That's just the tip of a gigantic, expensive iceberg. And ultimately, we're left with a list of questions almost as big.

Why, Solicitor Johnson, was that foreign travel necessary? Did you or your staff use any public funds for personal reasons? And have the trips and parties led to a bigger backlog of cases?

So far, Johnson has said he did nothing wrong, but he hasn't explained any of the questionable purchases - at all.

Johnson's name will be back on the ballot this year.

If he expects voters to support his re-election bid, we think he owes those voters an explanation.

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