Bobby Harrell, Jr.
|Bobby Harrell, Jr.|
|South Carolina House District 114|
|1992 - Present|
|November 10, 2014|
|Years in position||21|
|Speaker of the SC State House|
|Chairman, Ways and Means Committee, SC House|
|Majority Leader, SC State House|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 6, 2012|
|Next election||November 4, 2014|
|High school||Middleton High School (1974)|
|Bachelor's||BS, Business Administration, University of South Carolina (1978)|
|Birthday||March 7, 1956|
|Place of birth||Orangeburg, SC|
At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Harrell served on the following committees:
|South Carolina Committee Assignments, 2013|
|• Operations and Management, Ex-officio member|
In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Harrell did not serve on any committees.
Harrell and former Gov. Mark Sanford were at odds for much of the period since Harrell took over as Speaker in June 2005. Harrell blamed the state's high unemployment rate on Sanford's economic development strategy. Sanford believed the way to grow jobs was through broad-based reforms that help all businesses such as eliminating the corporate income tax and providing for an optional flat tax. Harrell has preferred to rely on targeted incentives for businesses and industries.
Among Harrell's biggest focuses has been in the area of hydrogen and fuel cell research - claiming that "South Carolina is on the edge of what could become a multitrillion-dollar industry over the next 20 years - the beginning of a hydrogen revolution." However, results have been spotty, according to the libertarian-leaning South Carolina Policy Council. More than $40 million in tax dollars have been invested in hydrogen research in the South Carolina Midlands alone, with the net result being the creation of a couple hundred jobs, according to the Speaker's Office.
Harrell was re-elected to the District 114 seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives in the 2012 election. Harrell ran unopposed in the Republican primary on June 12 and defeated Larry Carter Center (G) and John Steinberger (I) in the general election which took place on November 6, 2012.
|South Carolina House of Representatives, District 114 (2010)|
|Bobby Harrell (R)||8,488||98.86%|
On November 4, 2008 Harrell won re-election unopposed to the South Carolina House of Representatives with 12,940 votes, representing District 114.
Harrell raised $361,053 for his campaign.
|South Carolina House of Representatives, District 114 (2008)|
|Bobby Harrell, Jr. (R)||12,940|
Campaign donor information is not yet available for this year.
In 2010, a year in which Harrell was up for re-election, he collected $217,812 in donations.
His largest contributors in 2010 were:
|South Carolina House of Representatives 2010 election - Campaign Contributions|
|Top contributors to Bobby Harrell, Jr.'s campaign in 2010|
|Colonial Life & Accident Insurance||$1,000|
|Select Health Of South Carolina||$1,000|
|South Carolina Health Care Association||$1,000|
|Outdoor Advertising Association Of South Carolina||$1,000|
|Palmetto Primary Care Physicians||$1,000|
|Total Raised in 2010||$217,812|
Harrell raised $361,053 in the 2008 election cycle.
His major contributors are listed below.
|Select Health of South Carolina||$2,000|
|Trident Home Builders Association||$1,309|
The Palmetto Liberty PAC Scorecard
The Palmetto Liberty Political Action Committee, a conservative pro-limited government think tank in South Carolina, releases its Scorecard for South Carolina Representatives and Senators once a year. The Scorecard gives each a legislator a score based on how they voted in the two-year legislative term prior to the election on specific issues which the Palametto Liberty PAC thought were anti-limited government. "Most of the votes shown on the score card are votes that we lost. Now we can identify the Legislators that caused us to lose these votes. These Legislators are the ones who need to be replaced if we are to achieve the vision of having the most free state in the nation."
Bobby Harrell, Jr. received a score of 20% in the 2012 scorecard, ranking 57th out of all 124 South Carolina House of Representatives members. His score was followed by representatives Jackie Hayes (20%), George Hearn (20%), and Bill Herbkersman (20%).
According to a 2012 investigation by The Post and Courier, Harrell reimbursed himself $326,000 from his campaign funds but failed to keep accurate accounting of where the funds went. This documentation is required by the state to show that reimbursments are made only for political expenses, rather than personal purposes. The most controversial expenditures were related to Harrell's personal plane, which he claimed he only uses for "official legislative trips and politically related travel." Over the past five years, he had reimbursed himself $231,561 for travel costs.
In response to these revelations, South Carolina Common Cause, the South Carolina Democratic Party, and the South Carolina Policy Council requested that Attorney General Alan Wilson formally investigate the matter. While many Republicans were silent on the issue or modestly supported Harrell, Rep. Ralph Norman (R) was more critical of the Speaker, saying "He's gonna have to go overboard now to explain why he hasn't provided this so far. This isn't something he can stonewall. There are enough people in the House that are gonna demand that he answer...You can't govern effectively if you're under this cloud of suspicion. How is he gonna make laws if he's not abiding by them?"
On February 28, 2013, South Carolina's State Law Enforcement Division confirmed that it had opened an investigation of Harrell as result of the South Carolina Policy Council's complaint. SLED's spokesman said they were "actively investigating" the case. According to The Post and Courier, most legislators of both major parties did nothing to challenge the speaker over the allegations.
In August 2012, The Post and Courier of Charleston revealed that in September 2011, a dozen legislators used $10,000 in taxpayer funds for a conference held at the Charleston Place Hotel. Harrell, the event's official host, defended the expenditures, saying "the overall impact for the Charleston economy and the image of our community to leaders around the country was huge." Harrell's personal tab for his stay at the hotel came in at $1,519.
Harrell and his wife Cathy have two children, Trey and Charlotte, and live in Charleston. Bobby served as a deacon at Westminster Presbyterian Church from 1991 to 1993, and he and Cathy are members of the First Baptist Church of Charleston. The Harrells operate a State Farm Insurance agency.
According to an October 2010 report by The Nerve, Harrell recorded salary and expenses of $128,406 for the 2.5-year period from Jan. 1, 2008, through mid 2010, making him the second-highest-compensated legislator in South Carolina during that period.
- South Carolina House page
- Legislative profile from Project Vote Smart
- Biography from Project Vote Smart
- Press Release: Hydrogen: Proving to be a Great Investment for SC
- Technology: Hydrogen Energy for South Carolina?
- Statehouse Leaders Continue Hydrogen Push Despite Shortfalls
- Harrell: Don't Let Facts Get in way of Politics
- Campaign Contributions: 2008, 2006, 2004, 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996
- ↑ Newt Gingrich 2012, "South Carolina State House Speaker Endorses Newt Gingrich," January 19, 2012
- ↑ SC Statehouse Blogs "Hydrogen Press Release," June 19, 2009
- ↑ http://mooreschool.sc.edu/moore/research/Publications/BandE/bande53/53n3/technology.html
- ↑ South Carolina Policy Council "Hydrogen Shortfalls"
- ↑ South Carolina State Election Commission "2012 Candidates," Accessed April 25, 2012
- ↑ AP.org "South Carolina State Senate and State House Election Results" Accessed November 7, 2012
- ↑ South Carolina general election results
- ↑ Follow the Money's report 2008 Campaign donations in South Carolina
- ↑ 2010 campaign contributions
- ↑ Campaign contributors to Bobby Harrell
- ↑ The Palmetto Liberty Political Action Committee, "Voting Records"
- ↑ Palmetto Liberty Political Action Committee: South Carolina House Scorecard 2012, 2012
- ↑ Palmetto Liberty Political Action Committee: South Carolina House Score Card 2012, 2012
- ↑ Postandcourier.com "Harrell offers no details on self-reimbursement of $325,000 from campaign funds," Accessed September 25, 2012
- ↑ Postandcourier.com "Answers sought from House Speaker Bobby Harrell on reimbursements," Accessed September 25, 2012
- ↑ Jeremy Turnage, WISTV, "Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell now under SLED investigation," February 28, 2013
- ↑ [Stephen Largen, The Post and Courier, "Harrell investigation highlights complex Statehouse politics," March 3, 2013]
- ↑ The Augusta Chronicle "12 S.C. legislators stayed at Charleston Place during 5-day conference," Accessed August 18, 2012
- ↑ Campaign bio
- ↑ Project Vote Smart bio, accessed March 5, 2013
- ↑ Lawmakers Cost Taxpayers Millions, The Nerve, Oct. 6, 2010
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