S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell is headlining a fundraiser for the Palmetto Leadership Council scheduled tonight.
The Leadership Council is a political action committee that donates to the campaigns of lawmakers.
The PAC, and Harrell's ties to it, came under scrutiny when allegations that he may have broken state ethics laws surfaced along with news that the PAC had donated to the campaigns of representatives tasked with policing House members, including Harrell.
Harrell's office has said he has no official ties to the PAC, but the council’s website -- before it was taken down almost a year ago -- included his picture and a letter with his signature and a quote: “The Palmetto Leadership Council is dedicated to a positive, bipartisan effort to find workable solutions to the major problems we face.”
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Harrell now is the subject of a state grand jury investigation, which came after Attorney General Alan Wilson asked SLED to investigate the speaker on allegations that he may have broken state ethics laws when he, for example, reimbursed himself from his campaign account for flying his airplane on state business. Wilson referred the matter to the state grand jury after reviewing SLED's investigation.
Harrell held a news conference after the news about the grand jury, maintaining that the allegations are unjustified, and saying he was surprised by the continued investigation and fully expected for the matter to be dropped.
The event is at the Palmetto Club tonight, according to an invitation obtained by The Buzz. The invitation says an annual membership of $3,500 prior to the event will get two guests into the reception.