The other night at the 100th episode of “Pub Politics,” Corey Hutchins was brandishing a wad of bills like the one you see above. He gave me one, which I stuck in my pocket. (I didn’t need cash right then, on account of the beer being free at this shindig.)
I thought at the time that he said he’d gotten it at an Occupy Columbia event (the room was noisy, so it’s hard to tell exactly what he said). But it’s more complicated than that. Here’s an excerpt from what he later wrote about it:
John Crangle stood on a Sumter Street sidewalk in the rain and pointed at some of the most powerful people in state government as they got out of nice cars and hurried toward the entrance of a tall building where a large political action committee was holding a fundraiser on the 20th floor.
He was part of a small protest group – about six people – holding signs and questioning the politicos as they arrived for the party. At issue was the nature of the fundraising group, the Palmetto Leadership Council, a non-candidate committee tied to S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell.
Crangle is the director of Common Cause of South Carolina, and his government watchdog group was partnering with members of Occupy Columbia and the South Carolina Progressive Network in picketing the affair.
They accused the PAC of shaking down corporations with interests before the Legislature at the tacit behest of the House Speaker, one of South Carolina’s most powerful politicians.
The PAC has raised nearly $1 million since it was created in 2004. That money has gone to fund candidates – mostly incumbents – and it also gave the state Republican Party $100,000.
The demonstrators argued that politicians like Harrell are using PACs such as the Palmetto Leadership Council as a way to skirt campaign finance limits. A corporation or individual or entity is only allowed to donate $1,000 to a candidate running for the S.C. House or Senate because of finance rules. If they want to donate more, though, they can donate to the PAC and the PAC can turn around and donate to the candidate…
Corey told me today that we should expect to hear more about this issue in the coming days. He said it looked like the MSM was getting interested.