House Speaker Harrell: Release SLED report

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV/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 Harrell.

The first day of the legislative session was clouded in controversy. Before lawmakers even came to the Statehouse, Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell met with the media. He talked about the attorney general and the State Law Enforcement Division's investigation into his office.

Less than an hour before he presided over the opening of the 2014 legislature, Bobby Harrell addressed attorney general Alan Wilson's decision to hand over his review of ethics allegations against him to the state grand jury.

"I can say plenty about this unprecedented process.{} But I'd rather let the facts speak for themselves.{} That's why the AG needs to release the SLED report immediately," said Harrell at a news conference Tuesday morning.

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 provided all the documentation they said they needed.{} Every time I was asked, I agreed to meet with investigators.{} I answered every question they had," said Harrell, a Republican from Charleston County.

Still, the powerful speaker of the House is trying to clear his name surrounding the ethics controversy while carrying on the business of the state.

"This mudslinging didn't distract the House from having a productive session last year.{} And it won't stop the House from advancing the major reforms we're taking on this year," said Harrell.

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. A spokesman for the attorney general's office issued a statement Tuesday afternoon.

"This is an ongoing criminal investigation before the state grand jury.{} It is inappropriate for us to comment," it reads.

Harrell says the effectiveness of his leadership won't be effects when lawmakers come back to Columbia for day two of their session on Wednesday.

Harrell is accused of using his influence as house speaker to get permits for his pharmaceutical company. 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.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off