Andy Brack

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
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
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
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
The middle Georgia farm home in which Charles Columbus Brack died 100 years ago. The photo, taken in 1902, shows another family in front of the building. (Photo provided by Ed Cunard’s “A Book About Allentown … Georgia, That Is.“

BRACK: South has come a long way in 100 years

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   One hundred years ago, my great-grandfather, weakened by the flu, died of what’s believed to have been a ruptured appendix.  He was 38 years old.  The season’s cash crop, cotton, was about ready to pop in the fields in rural middle Georgia.

Charles Columbus Brack left a 31-year-old widow and six children, aged 1 to 10.  They lived in an unpainted house five miles from the nearest town.  It was only a mile from their Baptist church where, a few days ago, a family reunion of sorts occurred.

by · 09/22/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
Worker clean up sand on an Edisto Island street that was washed ashore by Hurricane Irma. (SCDOT photo.)

BRACK: Be better prepared for storms with new disaster fund

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   Maybe it’s time to start being more proactive fiscally with the natural disasters that seem to be more frequent in the Palmetto State.

Regardless of the cause — Mother Nature, climate change or the wrath of God — the flooding in the Midlands and Pee Dee in 2015, Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma this year have been expensive propositions.

While state and local officials already get specialized training ahead of disasters to be prepared, state government doesn’t budget for storm costs in advance.  Instead, it pays the bill long after the storm or disaster has passed.

by · 09/15/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
S.C. emergency management officials at work on Sept. 7 in Columbia.  S.C. Adjutant Gen. Bob Livingston is dressed in camouflage at the top left.  Photo provided.

BRACK:  What government gets right and what needs more help

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  With a storm breathing down the state’s neck, people turn to state and local governments for leadership, safety and solutions.  While government gets scrutiny year-round, maybe we should look at what’s working so we appreciate it more – and examine what may need some help so that it works better.

What seems to work

Revenue.  The taxman knows how to collect state sales and income taxes efficiently.

Motor Vehicles.  It used to be a nightmare to get a driver’s license.  Now, it’s not.

by · 09/07/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK:  Let’s take a new middle road on Confederate monuments

BRACK:  Let’s take a new middle road on Confederate monuments

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   Mention the word “Confederate” these days and you sound like you’re itching for an argument.  It shouldn’t be that way.

For months across the South, there have been calls to remove Confederate monuments or to rename buildings or streets honoring long dead Confederate soldiers.  At the same time, others have said to leave the statues and names alone.

But last month in Charlottesville, Va., everything changed.  During a white nationalist rally over the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, a car plowed through a crowd, killing a 32-year woman.  Violence ensued between white nationalists and counter-protesters.  More than 30 were injured.  The governor declared a state of emergency.  A nation was stunned – and got mad.

by · 09/01/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary