SC speaker ruling raises accountability questions

By MEG KINNARDAssociated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A judge's recent ruling is raising questions both about the power of the top prosecutor in South Carolina and the process of holding lawmakers accountable.

This week, a circuit judge ruled that allegations of corruption against House Speaker Bobby Harrell should be dealt with by a legislative panel and not state courts.

Attorney General Alan Wilson had been presenting state police findings to the State Grand Jury. He says the ruling impedes his ability to work as the state's chief prosecutor.

The think tank that brought the case to Wilson's attention says the decision is troubling because it means no one is empowered to hold lawmakers accountable but their colleagues.

Harrell has said the case is politically motivated.

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