Robert Ford resigns, sets land-speed scandal record

Psychotic horses and burning barns

Posted by Chris Haire on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Holy cow. This is not how it's supposed to happen. This is not how it's supposed to go down. Seriously, didn't Robert Ford read the How to Survive a Scandal Handbook — the one penned by William Jefferson Clinton so many years ago? Apparently not.

The long-time Lowcountry state senator has resigned today, less than 24 hours after a disastrous ethics hearing in which allegations were made that Ford had used campaign funds to purchase goods from two sex stores.

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Corey Hutchins of the Free Times in Columbia reports:

In a phone call around 11:30 a.m., the longtime Lowcountry Democrat told Free Times he'd talk about why he resigned, “after I check out of the hospital, man.” He had earlier checked in for chest pains, his attorney said.

Yesterday a Senate Ethics Committee lawyer accused him of using campaign funds to pay for things like male enhancement drugs and purchases at adult superstores. Ford's attorney, William Runyan, said those were campaign related gifts to people who worked on projects Ford was involved in. Ford is also accused of mishandling campaign funds in other ways.

Runyan has been Ford's attorney for more than 35 years and repped him on previous ethics-related cases that have gone all the way to the state Supreme Court.

Asked earlier today what it's like being Ford's attorney, Runyan paraphrased a scene from a play called The Birdcage.

“It's like riding a psychotic horse through a burning barn,” he said.

Hmm. It would seem like that ride just came to an end.

Comments (15)

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Time for Jason Scott Luck, esquire to run for that vacancy.

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Posted by Anonymously Anonymous on May 31, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Maybe now the people of his district will get some proper representation in Columbia.
So many years of holding that office, and who knows how long he's been abusing funds.

Ford's attorney, William Runyan, said those were campaign related gifts to people who worked on projects Ford was involved in.

Ya have to wonder what kind of projects he was up to.

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Posted by artrogue on May 31, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Ford should just lie and deny it and then make a comeback run for Congress. Or is that his plan? Not sure there is any way he would not be re-elected. He could complain this is a witch hunt because he is black, blah, blah, blah.

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Posted by And if elected... on June 1, 2013 at 12:50 PM

I mean if Sanford and Sins can do it, anyone can..

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Posted by And if elected... on June 1, 2013 at 1:23 PM
Posted by David Farrow on June 1, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Well, thanks for tricking us into giving your "news" blog a few hits, David.

Tacky....

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Posted by mat catastrophe on June 1, 2013 at 4:12 PM

If there were a scorecard that graded legislators on their commitment to the poor and working class, Ford's rating would be 100%. Take away his odd personality, the ill advised public statements, and his inexplicable friendship with Confederate fetishist Glenn McConnell, and you have a public servant who was a tireless advocate for the poor majority of South Carolina. He will be sorely missed in that regard as the right wing foundations tighten their grip on state politics.

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Posted by Mario Delgado on June 1, 2013 at 11:40 PM

Well delgado, there are, in fact, plenty of scorecards. Take a quick google search. Mr Ford's record is pretty dismal.
I'm not sure why anyone would defend him. Sure he did great things in the civil rights campaign. Does that really mean he should hold an office for so many years?
The people of his district have been ill served.
A closer look at his misuse of funds is indeed apalling and even his fellow democrats point that out. Could he not just produce a few reciepts for the many purchases he said he made for people?
I've made no bones about my opposition to scoundrels no matter the party.
Seems as if the partisanship continues to divide us even when the facts are right in our faces.

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Posted by artrogue on June 2, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Ford may be smarter that everyone thinks. He quit his real job as a car salesman and turned what is supposed to be a part time position in public service into a 20 year career with full pension, benefits, and a health plan...something that has become impossible to do in the private sector.

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Posted by Los Super Saturn on June 4, 2013 at 3:30 PM

i'm curious as to why atrogue believes ford's constituents have been ill served. we elected him by large majorities. how specifically has he not reflected our values? how has he acted against our interests? what in your opinion makes his record "dismal"?

he has many detractors among his constituents. his bluster and outsized personality invite criticism. but i think few of his constituents have considered themselves ill served by sen. ford.

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Posted by Mario Delgado on June 4, 2013 at 7:44 PM

If you bothered to simply google his scorecards from various state organizations, as I mentioned, you'd have the answer to your questions.

Mr Ford's "bombastic" personality has nothing to do with it. I actually like him as a man. I just don't think he really had the interest of his constituents at heart. If he really had bought all those things he says he did for people you'd think he could produce one receipt?

I realize he has health issues and i wish him a speedy recovery.

If he wasn't in some way guilty of serious misuse of funds, I don't believe he would have retired.

Answer me... one simple question.
What serious positive change in the economic outlook of his district has changed since 1993 due directly to his work?

mostly same ol same ol. Meanwhile he was filling his pockets and buying adult themed gag gifts?!

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Posted by artrogue on June 5, 2013 at 5:34 PM

As a citizen in Mr. Ford's district, I must say I'm glad to see him out of office. Although it pains me every time our kids see another of our elected leaders disgrace themselves with public monies. After experiencing this man's dealings in our neighborhood for so long, I had come to the point that I usually left the section for voting for his seat, blank... As blank as the brains of the people who have kept him in office for so long. It's just a shame that the shared southern psychosis with sex had to bring him down and not the usual "selling out thru the jetty all that we've loved about our city" policies practiced by our far more successfully affluent politicians. I guess Mr. Ford may have to now find an honest job to stave off having to put retreads on his oversized limos he's so recognized for cruising down Savannah Hwy.

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Posted by Clarence Terry Rodgers on June 5, 2013 at 9:15 PM

three positive legacies of Ford's tenure with direct economic benefits for constituents:

1. while the rest of the state lavished Boeing with no strings attached gifts (i.e. taxpayer dollars), Ford took the lead in securing commitments from boeing to hire locally.

http://www.postandcourier.com/article/2009…
http://www.postandcourier.com/article/2010…
http://www.postandcourier.com/article/2009…

2. Ford spearheaded efforts to clean up the payday lending industry that victimizes so many poor people.
http://www.postandcourier.com/article/2008…
http://www.live5news.com/Global/story.asp?…
http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archiv…

3. Ford worked hard for expansion of the SPA, and more recently for needed reforms to improve the SPA's structure and mission. SPA is the state's most important economic engine.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=WWtJA…
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Maw1A…

the idea that ford had a "dismal record" or that his constituents were poorly served allows us to distance ourselves from the reality that he was undone not by his ethical lapses, but by the fact that he was no white man's bitch.

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Posted by Mario Delgado on June 7, 2013 at 3:29 AM

Actually he was Glenn McConnell's bitch for a looooong time.

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Posted by nofaith on June 7, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Well your end sentence pretty much says it all. After posting some very laudable efforts by Mr Ford to do his job. You get down to what you really wanted to say and
in my opinion ...its absurd.

Mr Ford was, in fact, undone by his ethical "lapses". Had he not misused the funds he would still hold his seat. This had nothing to do with race, but obviously thats your opinion.

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Posted by artrogue on June 7, 2013 at 5:29 PM
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