Washington Report: Updates From the Capitol

Clyburn calls for investigation of South Carolina candidates

Clyburn Calls for Investigation of S.C. Candidates


When it comes to politics, South Carolina is the sort of place where almost anything can happen, and this week, a few things did.

Something is terribly amiss, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) said Thursday afternoon, and he’s calling on both state and federal authorities to investigate suspicious congressional campaigns run by black candidates.

Political observers have been most abuzz over unemployed veteran Alvin Greene, the state’s improbable Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. Greene, who has no website, staff, signs, or semblance of a real campaign, stunned the party when he won 100,000 votes in Tuesday’s primary and again when the news emerged that he’s facing a criminal felony obscenity charge. Aside from the $10,400 filing fee he paid in March, Greene’s so-called campaign hasn’t made any other expenditure or filed, Federal Election Commission reports. Greene says he has no intention of stepping aside from the November face-off against Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint.

“How can anybody who’s unemployed just plop down $10,000 and all of a sudden spend no money and get nominated?” Clyburn wondered. He suspects that Greene is someone’s plant. “When I heard that he was in fact accused of a felony, I just felt that this was 1990 all over again.”

Clyburn was referring to the year Benjamin Hunt Jr., an unemployed black fisherman, ran for Congress in a primary against incumbent GOP Rep. Arthur Ravenel, Jr. It turned out that political consultant Rod Shealy, who wanted to increase turnout for his sister’s bid for lieutenant governor, had paid Hunt’s filing fee.


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