Commentary

BRACK: Cast of characters grows in corruption probe

BRACK: Cast of characters grows in corruption probe

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  With three politicos added Wednesday to the ongoing corruption scandal at the Statehouse, it’s getting kind of hard to keep up with the cast of characters.  Here’s a handy guide for what’s going on:

To date, seven Republicans – six legislators or ex-legislators and uber-consultant Richard Quinn Sr. – have been indicted in the probe that goes back to 2014 when state officials started looking into the campaign finances of the sitting House speaker. 

In 2014, Attorney General Alan Wilson appointed First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe to be the “designated prosecutor” in a case against then-House Speaker Bobby Harrell.  After a state investigation uncovered other possible corruption involving Statehouse players, Wilson cited a potential conflict related to an investigatory report and recused himself.  His office continued to manage the case.  But Pascoe was kept in the loop. 

by · 10/20/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
MY TURN:  PBMS will save $10 billion in S.C. drug costs over 10 years

MY TURN:  PBMS will save $10 billion in S.C. drug costs over 10 years

By Dr. Edmund J. Pezalla, special to Statehouse Report |  There is so much rancor and finger-pointing these days over prescription drug prices that consumers are often left to wonder: who is fighting on their behalf? The answer: Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs.

Companies and public programs providing prescription drug coverage hire PBMs for their expertise, and ability to reduce drug costs by negotiating for rebates and discounts from big drug companies and drugstores. It would be too expensive and complicated for employers, or other payers, to match PBMs’ ability to reduce drug costs, while providing access.

Though drug makers continue to raise prices out of proportion to increases in value, PBMs are doing their job by keeping drug costs down. In fact, PBMs will save patients and payers in South Carolina $10.3 billion over 10 years.

BRACK:  Looking beyond corruption at Statehouse

BRACK:  Looking beyond corruption at Statehouse

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  The S.C. General Assembly is far different than 27 years ago when Operation Lost Trust blew open the cozy culture of the Statehouse with federal charges against 28 legislators and lobbyists in a cash-for-votes sting.

People went to jail.  Some avoided it.  Ethics rules were changed to become some of the toughest in the nation as it became virtually impossible for people to buy a cup of coffee legally for a friend in the legislature.  

But time moved on and institutions adapted.  Unknown dark money rose to fuel ever-increasing partisan, nasty campaigns.   In recent years, shenanigans have shown up in political campaign accounts, leading to the departure of a lieutenant governor and House speaker.  Currently, others hang in the balance in an ongoing Statehouse scandal that may be broadening, according to sources.

by · 10/13/2017 · 2018, Andy Brack, Commentary
FEEDBACK:  Three very different views on guns, violence

FEEDBACK:  Three very different views on guns, violence

P.C. Coker, Charleston: “I hate to propose a barbaric response to this [gun] issue, but nothing will galvanize the public to demand more stringent controls on assault weapons and comprehensive background checks than for the media to start showing the dead in living color.”

Two other views from Ben Moise of Charleston and George Wilson of Stone Mountain, Ga.

by · 10/12/2017 · Commentary, Feedback
BRACK:  Demand real gun control

BRACK:  Demand real gun control

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   Let me be crystal clear:  It is time for real gun control.

No more pussyfooting around the edges.  No more talk and blather as more people are killed in mass shootings in churches, schools, nightclubs and music festivals.

Real. Gun. Control.

Let me also be clear:  This does not mean the government is going to take away your guns. Remember when President Obama got elected president and the nutcases shouted and screamed that he would take away guns?  Did he?  No.  Instead, a vocal sub-minority of zealots pitched an NRA-led fit to make people believe authorities would take away their guns.  And the violence continued.

by · 10/06/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
FEEDBACK:  On protecting the SNAP program; Remembering the past

FEEDBACK:  On protecting the SNAP program; Remembering the past

Pat Walker, North Charleston: “Although food insecurity affects more than 17 percent of people in South Carolina, it is often hard to see.  When a child can’t focus at school because they didn’t have dinner the night before or breakfast that morning, it isn’t always clear that hunger is driving their distraction – but it is oftentimes the culprit.”

Also: Bryan Harrison of Charleston on remembering the past.

by · 10/06/2017 · Commentary, Feedback
MY TURN, Rex: Maybe we already are running government like a business

MY TURN, Rex: Maybe we already are running government like a business

By Jim Rex, special to Statehouse Report  |  On Oct. 3, the American public was treated to simultaneous televised congressional hearings with the former chief executive officer of Equifax and current CEO of Wells Fargo.  Hours of questions and testimony revealed the now all too familiar corporate cultures of greed, incompetence, stonewalling and misrepresentation.

Equifax exposed vast amounts of the personal and financial data of approximately half (145 million) of the American public, and Wells Fargo employees created millions of false accounts, on behalf of millions of their unsuspecting customers, in order to receive incentive bonuses.

by · 10/05/2017 · Commentary, My Turn
BRACK:  Revisionist spin machine on rinse for Haley’s record?

BRACK:  Revisionist spin machine on rinse for Haley’s record?

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  With the next presidential election three years away, it isn’t odd to start wondering whether a revisionist rinse is already spinning away to bolster the gubernatorial record of now U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Just look to a premise in a weekend story about the former S.C. governor that claimed she was the driving force behind “$180 million in new education funding three years ago.”

Really?  Is that what happened? 

by · 09/29/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary