MORNING BUZZ: Bad attorney? SC Esquires strike back (with help)

Posted by JAMIE SELF on April 24, 2014 

— A Republican Governors Association ad hitting state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, Gov. Nikki Haley's Democratic challenger in November, for his record as an attorney is providing fodder for more than just the GOP.

Without naming Sheheen specifically, the S.C. Bar has launched a website to combat "recent political campaign ads" attacking the legal profession.

The RGA ad continues a line of Republican attacks from Haley camp and the state GOP criticizing Sheheen for having defended "at least three" men with histories of criminal domestic violence.

The GOP-flagged defendants also include a man who, around the age of 18 according to court records, was charged in 1999 with criminal sexual conduct with a minor between the age of 11 and 14, second degree.

Nationally, conservative Erick Erickson weighed in on his Red State blog railing against Sheheen, and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow turned a critical eye to the ad, saying "it's a basic American principle that even bad guys, especially bad guys, get good lawyers."

"I don't know if this ad campaign in South Carolina is going to become a scandal," Maddow said. "For totally non-partisan reasons, I hope it does."

Meanwhile, a new voice critical to the ad joined the din Wednesday.

An attorney representing the reelection campaign of New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie -- also the RGA's chairman -- in a federal probe into the temporary closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge called the ad a "disgrace". The Huffington Post reports:

"I did watch the ad and, wow, it's a disgrace," Robert D. Luskin, a partner at Patton Boggs, told The Huffington Post in an email. "The people who talk incessantly about American exceptionalism ought to demonstrate some understanding -- and some respect -- for what makes our system truly admirable: that includes the willingness of lawyers to stand up for their clients no matter how ugly the allegation. But a lawyer is only, ever an advocate; he's not a co conspirator or an enabler."

"I suppose the take away here is that in 2014, as in every election that preceded it, people will say whatever they think they need to in order to win. That's no surprise. But one would certainly hope that an organization like the RGA would also show some respect for the institutions that make our country special," Luskin continued.

Happening today: At 9:30 a.m. Gov. Haley will address the 4th Annual Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Summit, Richland Room, Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln Street, Columbia, S.C. ... At 10 a.m. S.C. GOP chairman Matt Moore will make an announcement regarding the governor's race.

GOP state Sen. Katrina Shealy joins Democrats' cries for Haley to dismiss Lillian Koller, director of the state Department of Social Services, amid an ongoing Senate probe into complaints of agency mismanagement.

Under fire from the Freedom From Religion Foundation for bringing religion to the gridiron, Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney issued a statement on Wednesday morning, saying all faiths are welcome on his field.

The story of how the S.C. town of Latta is pushing back after the mayor fired its openly gay police chief has made it to Buzzfeed. S.C. House members introduced a bill last year that would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill has been stuck in committee since.

South Carolina has earned the dubious distinction as the nation’s dirtiest state, ranking dead last for "public spaces cleanliness" in the 2014 American State Litter Scorecard.

Politico takes a look at how Sen. Lindsey Graham "outmaneuvered the tea party."

Activists say complaints about S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell’s alleged illegal use of campaign funds were criminal in nature from the beginning and an ongoing investigation into his affairs should stay in the State Grand Jury.

Dozens of South Carolina veterans gathered at the Statehouse on Wednesday to press lawmakers to boost benefits for those who served in the military and their families, the Associated Press reports.

A mixed-oxide fuel plant at the Savannah River Site has avoided more than 1,000 layoffs for now, the Aiken Standard reports.

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