Politics & Government

Bauer consultant charged with DUI

Larry Marchant, a political consultant to Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and one of Columbia's most influential State House lobbyists, was arrested last week and charged with driving under the influence and speeding.

According to a Columbia Police Department report, an officer clocked Marchant driving 47 mph in a 30 mph speed zone on Devine Street at 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 23.

Police asked Marchant to perform three field sobriety tests, including walking heel-to-toe and checking his eye reflexes; Marchant failed all three tests and was arrested, police said. His

license was suspended after he declined to take a breath analysis test. He was also ticketed for speeding.

Marchant is president of Palmetto Policy Group. Its State House clients include the S.C. Alliance of Health Plans, Johnson & Johnson, the Poker Players Alliance and smokeless tobacco maker Swedish Match, according to state lobbying records. He previously has lobbied for private school choice.

Marchant also founded Black Label Strategies and, according to state campaign disclosures, is a paid political consultant for Bauer, a Republican seeking the GOP nomination for governor. Other clients include Kelly Payne, a Dutch Fork High School teacher running for state superintendent of education.

Efforts to reach Marchant and Bauer for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.