Does it seem like once SC turned its focus to roads all the bad truths have begun to emerge?
Think South Carolina‚Äôs Department of Transportation (SCDOT) is mismanaged? Strapped for cash? You ain‚Äôt seen nothing yet ‚Ä¶
Governor Nikki Haley and state lawmakers are facing a looming revolt from ‚Äúhundreds of municipalities‚ÄĚ within the Palmetto State over the agency‚Äôs alleged mismanagement of a controversial federal grant program. In fact several local leaders tell FITS they are prepared to call for a federal probe into the disappearance of millions of dollars sent to the agency ‚Äď while one SCDOT whistleblower tells FITS she is ready to cooperate with such an investigation.
‚ÄúThe money they sent us ‚Äď it‚Äôs gone,‚ÄĚ she told us.
Wait ‚Ä¶ what?
Which money? And how much?
‚ÄúMillions of dollars,‚ÄĚ she said.
According to our source, SCDOT has been stiffing local governments for the last four years in the wake of its epidemic cash crunches. One of its favorite methods of administering the shaft? Collecting money from local governments under the auspices of TEA-21 grants ‚Äď but then failing to do the work associated with the projects.
‚ÄúTEA-21‚Ä≥ grants refer to money administered by the federal government under the statutes of the ‚ÄúTransportation Equity Act for the 21st Century‚ÄĚ ‚Äď which passed the U.S. Congress and was signed into law by president Bill Clinton back in 1998. The law expired in 2003, but its grants continue to be awarded.
In fact TEA-21 money has flowed to one of South Carolina‚Äôs most infamous boondoggles ‚Äď the Jim Clyburn Transportation Center at S.C. State University (which has yet to be built).
More details at the link above.
Thanks to Roger Nutt, the most transparent county councilman on the east coast!
(well perhaps sharing that mantle with newcomer Justin Bradley)
I think this is good news for an eventual Republican President win.
And … I’m a little heartened by this quote from Mitt …
In an apparent swipe at former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ‚ÄĒ who along with Romney is one of the most recognized names among GOP contenders potentially seeking the party‚Äôs nomination ‚ÄĒ Romney said he was confident that someone in the huge field of GOP contenders, likely ‚Äúone who is just getting started,‚ÄĚ would emerge to defeat the Democratic nominee.
‚ÄúI believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee,‚ÄĚ Romney said.
Could it be he’s willing to get behind Scott Walker? One can hope!
Jonathan Easley at TheHill.com has an article on Mitt’s announcement today, CLICK HERE to read.
Continuing her excellent work on researching and sharing about the corrupt practices in the cesspool of Columbia, Jamie Murguia has this article in TheNerve.org.
NOTE: Of similar circumstances to those Jamie reports on is Spartanburg Rep. Mike Forrester, which we detailed in a previous blog:
In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Spartanburg Rep. Mike Forrester introduced and sponsored H. 3551 ‚ÄĒ a bill entitled ‚ÄúSpartanburg Community College Enterprise Campus Authority Act‚ÄĚ Among other things this bill would create a board that had authority to:
make and execute contracts and all other instruments and agreements necessary or convenient for the performance of its duties and the exercise of its powers and functions;
buy, purchase, or otherwise acquire real and personal property and other assets and sell, convey, mortgage, pledge, lease, exchange, transfer, and otherwise dispose of all or any part of its real and personal property and other assets, upon such terms and conditions the board determines;
employ agents, advisors, consultants, engineers, architects, attorneys, accountants, construction and financial experts, land planners, superintendents, managers, and other employees and agents as necessary in the board‚Äôs judgment in connection with any aspect of the enterprise campus and to determine their duties and to fix their compensation;
Forrester‚Äôs profession? He‚Äôs the director of economic development at Spartanburg Community College.
Here is an excerpt from Jamie’s article, click the link above to read the entire post.
The majority of debate related to a provision of S.1 that would require lawmakers to recuse themselves from all matters on an issue for which they have a conflict of interest.
The current recusal law is actually quite clear. It states: ‚ÄúNo public official, public member, or public employee may make, participate in making, or in any way attempt to use his office, membership, or employment to influence a governmental decision in which he, a family member, an individual with whom he is associated, or a business with which he is associated has an economic interest.‚ÄĚ If an official is required to take action on such a matter, the law requires him or her to ‚Äúprepare a written statement describing the matter requiring action or decisions and the nature of his potential conflict of interest with respect to the action or decision.‚ÄĚ Furthermore, members of the General Assembly must give their statement to the presiding officer of their chamber, and the the presiding officer is required to have the statement printed in the journal and ‚Äúrequire that the member of the General Assembly be excused from votes, deliberations, and other action on the matter on which a potential conflict exists.‚ÄĚ
So, pretty clear.
But S.1 seeks to clarify what was described on the floor Wednesday as ‚Äúthe practice of the body‚ÄĚ as it relates to following the law. Specifically, S.1 would require that if a legislator recuses himself for the reason above, he ‚Äúshall do so at all times during consideration of the matter before the body or agency of which the public official or public member is a member, or which the public employee is employed.‚ÄĚ This would apply to, but is not limited to, ‚Äúparticipation in matters considered by committees, subcommittees, study committees, or other components of the body or agency of which the public official is a member.‚ÄĚ
Many senators saw this amended provision as one that might be taking ethics reform too far ‚Äď potentially ‚Äúmuzzling‚ÄĚ them, as one put it. Of course, the law requires this already, but lawmakers continue to find ways around it.
Go to Jamie’s article to see more specifics on which legislators and which industries are involved. so far.
Without a doubt among the very best use of social media among elected officials — Mick Mulvaney’s very frequent Facebook Q&As. Some lasting as long as 2 hours.
CLICK HERE for today’s thread. People post questions, and he replies, and he really does try to get to all of them. If there are questions he sees that he didn’t answer, he posts answers later when he has time.
You’ll have to click on the “Reply” or “Replies” little link to see the replies.
Here is an example of these Q&As. These things go on and on and on, with Mick replying and back and forth.
Adam C. Love Rep. Justin Amash has expressed concerns about the exemptions granted to the Canadian company that will build Keystone XL, as well as the potential for abuse of eminent domain the project poses. I believe you voted in favor of the Keystone XL bill which passed the House. Is Amash wrong?
Like ¬∑ Reply ¬∑ 2 hrs
Rep. Mick Mulvaney Ha…funny you asked…Justin was just texting me when your post came in.
Like ¬∑ 2 ¬∑ 1 hr
Rep. Mick Mulvaney Justin’s reason for voting “present” was that he didn’t think the govt should be involved in the decision making on a private project.
Like ¬∑ 1 hr
Rep. Mick Mulvaney I respect that, but disagree. The administration has clearly made a political issue of this, and it is appropriate, as part of our oversight function in the Congress, to push back on that.
Like ¬∑ 1 ¬∑ 1 hr
Rep. Mick Mulvaney Rememebr, this is NOT a federal program or taxpayer money. All we are saying is that the process has taken too long for permitting, there are no documented reasons justifying denial of the permit, and that therefore the permit should be issues.
Like ¬∑ 1 ¬∑ 1 hr
Rep. Mick Mulvaney Whether the thing actually gets built is up to its owners…an that is as it should be.
A story that has gone on for years.
The Keystone XL pipeline is closer than it‚Äôs ever been to approval after the Senate overcame a Democrat-led filibuster Thursday and was headed for a final passage vote later in the day ‚ÄĒ setting up an eventual showdown with President Obama, who has promised a veto.
Nine Democrats bucked Mr. Obama‚Äôs threat and voted with 53 Republicans to approve the pipeline, which has taken on a political significance far beyond the 830,000 barrels per day of tar sands oil that it is projected to carry if it ever gets built.
It marks the first major legislation to clear the Senate since the GOP took control earlier this month, and serves as a key test of how willing Democrats will be to challenge their lame-duck party leader, Mr. Obama.
‚ÄúThis took a bipartisan effort to get done. That‚Äôs what the people want,‚ÄĚ said Sen. John Hoeven, the North Dakota Republican who sponsored the legislation.
The bill will still have to be married with a House version, which cleared that chamber earlier this year on a similar bipartisan vote ‚ÄĒ though in neither case was there enough support to overcome an expected veto.
Read more at the link above. Here’s another story on this at Politico.
Governments seem to have a ‚ÄúTax it if it moves and even if it doesn‚Äôt‚ÄĚ frame of mind.
The Democratic Party‚Äôs history is to provide programs to buy votes from the poor and middle classes with one hand, while at the same time slapping them with the other hand by driving up the cost of their lives. It works.
The reduction of the price of gasoline has done more to help brighten the lives of the poor and middle class than anything Democrats did while they controlled the federal government. This has been done by private enterprise in spite of the Democratic Party‚Äôs policies on energy. It has provided spending relief that the poor and middle classes can actually feel daily.
Now the state government is talking about increasing the gasoline tax, which would hurt the pockets of all in South Carolina, but the poor and middle classes the most. Republicans are acting like Democrats.
If the roads are important, then shut down all the pet projects of the S.C. Legislature or governor and put that money toward road repairs. Even put a night light in the Capitol and turn off everything else in order to save. The people can see that there is no seriousness about roads by looking at what the state spends elsewhere.
There is talk of the road monies not being shared correctly around the state. To remedy that, split the state in two parts at Columbia while splitting the road budget in half, with half to the Upstate and half to the lower part every year. After a few years, road money will target roads in the whole state instead of based on who holds the purse strings in the General Assembly and DOT.
No tax increase is the best tax increase for our state.
Ben Shapiro at Breitbart has a summation of the confirmation hearings for AG nominee Loretta Lynch.
On Thursday, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) announced that he would vote against the nomination of Loretta Lynch for attorney general based on her statement that she supported President Obama‚Äôs executive amnesty.
Unfortunately, when asked today whether she found the President‚Äôs actions to be ‚Äėlegal and constitutional,‚Äô Ms. Lynch said that she did. I therefore am unable to support her nomination. My concerns are furthered by Ms. Lynch‚Äôs unambiguous declaration that ‚Äėthe right and the obligation to work is one that‚Äôs shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here.‚Äô
Unfortunately, many other Republicans did not share Sessions‚Äô sentiments, tossing softball questions at Lynch throughout her confirmation hearing. Nonetheless, Lynch demurred from answering over and over again, abiding by the new rule that nominees must avoid giving honest answers lest they be held accountable for those answers.
When asked about Obama‚Äôs executive amnesty, she deferred on every major legal question. She said that Obama‚Äôs amnesty was not in fact ‚Äúpermanent status,‚ÄĚ even though Obama says he will not deport any of those who fall within his criteria. She added that she would not say if such illegal immigrants could sue for employment discrimination, adding that she looked forward to ‚Äúdiscussing it with you and using, and relying upon your thoughts and experiences as we consider that point.‚ÄĚ This was her fallback line, obviously: when in doubt, say she looks forward to discussing these hot legal issues over a cup of coffee with the president‚Äôs political opposition. How theoretically bipartisan!
Read more at the link above.
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) is lead author of a letter signed by more than 40 of his fellow House Republicans calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the House-passed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill that blocks funding for President Obama‚Äôs executive amnesty to the Senate floor as soon as possible.
After thanking McConnell for working to pass the Keystone XL pipeline, the Republicans who signed the Duncan letter press him to bring the House-passed bill to the Senate floor immediately after Keystone is done.
‚ÄúAs you know, appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security expire after February 27, 2015,‚ÄĚ Duncan and his cosigners write. ‚ÄúThe House of Representatives has passed responsible legislation (H.R. 240) that funds the Department for the remainder of fiscal year 2015 and defends the separation of powers by stopping President Obama‚Äôs unconstitutional executive actions.‚ÄĚ
They specifically call on McConnell to fight to get that bill passed through the Senate, even though Democrats currently say they will attempt to block it.
‚ÄúWe write to urge you to bring H.R. 240 to the floor as soon as the Senate completes consideration of Keystone XL,‚ÄĚ Duncan and his colleagues write. ‚ÄúWe believe that Senate Republicans must honor the promise they made to the American people last year to stand firm against the President‚Äôs lawless actions and preserve Congress‚Äô constitutional role as a lawmaking body. We believe that bringing H.R. 240 to the floor is the first step in accomplishing this goal.‚ÄĚ
Read more about this effort at the link above.
and THANKS Jeff Duncan!