South Carolina Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell is one of the most powerful politicians in Columbia. As such, he had little problem making PACs in South Carolina pay the bill for two national legislative conferences in Charleston. The problem with PAC man Harrell, or should we say Speaker Harrell, is that his big parties dried up the well, so to speak in campaign finance in South Carolina House races. Harrell ate up all the little dots that are campaign money.
After giving up big money to let Harrell have his parties, PACs and others are simply tapped out. Add to the problem the economy we are in. Thus, SC Republican House members are finding limited sources of funding for their races this year.
But, one source of funding remains for them. That is billionaire Howard Rich, his friends, and the groups he and his friends back. Thus, GOP members can find money for re-election if they sign on to the odd ideas of those folks.
Let's lay it out there. Suppose Representative X is running for re-election as a Republican. Normally, without the dry well created by Harrell, he would be able to go to businesses and their PACs for campaign cash. With those sources tapped out, Representative X faces a problem. Either Representative X votes the way the Rich folks want and gets money from them or faces a primary opponent funded with so called Rich money while he scrambles to compete.
In the end, politicians look after their own interests, their own re-election. Some might retire, but the vast majority of Republicans will be careful to not offend the so called Rich crowd, so they can rake in the money for their re-election bids.
Blame PAC man Bobby Harrell for this. He gobbled up all the money for his parties, and the ghosts of Howard Rich, (playing to the 80s Pac Man crowd here) are emboldened. Indeed, Harrell himself might find his very Speakership challenged if the legislature is filled with Rich funded men and women.