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Tumpy Campbell insists he's not a lobbyist

CC III, you protest too much

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I am not a guy who loses his cool. Not ever.

I am as composed as a sonnet by William Shakespeare. I am as collected as Detective Comics No. 27. Look up calm in the dictionary and you will see that it's spelled "me."

Nothing pushes my buttons. Nothing ever causes me to blow a fuse. Nothing has ever made me break a sweat. Nothing.

Not bouncing a check. Not getting a speeding ticket.

Not misspelling the name of a band on the cover of the City Paper.

My blood is as cool as ice. I sank the Titanic.

I have never punched a wall. I have never kicked a trash can into the street. I have never come home to find the remote control chewed to bits and then turned to my dog and threatened to send him to the glue factory.

I ended global warming. I am Al Gore's secret love.

But if there was one thing that would ever cause me to really snap, it is being called something I'm not.

Which is what's happening to Carroll "Tumpy" Campbell III, son of the late governor and current opponent of Henry Brown in the 1st Congressional District race. See, some folks here in the media have called Campbell a lobbyist. Heck, even my fellow fifth columnist Will Moredock did last week. And I hate to admit this, but Will was wrong.

Tumpy may be a public service novice who is seeking a shortcut to higher office by invoking the name of his dearly departed daddy, but he is not a lobbyist. And his company is not a lobbying firm.

But don't take my word for it. Take Campbell and Associates'. In the portion of the site marked "What We Do," the firm states: "Please note that Carroll Campbell and Associates is not a lobbying firm. Our specialty is assisting clients in the development and execution of strategic plans to achieve their goals. Should engaging a lobbyist become necessary in the course of executing a plan, we will be happy to recommend one or more lobbyists for that service."

I don't know about you, but for me, that says it all. Campbell and Associates is an assisting-clients-in-the-development-and-execution-of-strategic-plans-to-achieve-their-goals firm, not a lobbying outfit. Case closed.

With these facts in mind, it's particularly troubling that Campbell's campaign is being forced to address this falsehood. Last week, they sent an e-mail proclaiming that "Opponent staff members have attempted to state or have reporters state that Mr. Campbell is a lobbyist. However, Mr. Campbell has never been a registered lobbyist." Brent Littlefield of the Campbell campaign also called this reporter to address this issue and one other. And we stand corrected: Campbell and Associates has never represented railroad firm CSX, and Tumpy is not a registered lobbyist.

But two of Campbell's prominent associates at the company surely are. Both Russell Munn, senior partner, and Nikki Hutchison, managing partner, are lobbyists, according to the State Ethics Commission. In fact, both are lobbyists for the South Carolina chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, of which Tumpy is the former chair.

However, it's important to point out that while both Munn and Hutchison are registered lobbyists, Tumpy is not a registered lobbyist, and Campbell and Associates is not a lobbying firm. At least it's not in October 2009.

But in 2006, things were apparently quite different. A press release posted on the company's website announcing the hiring of Munn and Hutchison had this to say: "The addition of our new partners clearly demonstrates our commitment to politics and public policy in South Carolina. We plan to continue our goal of building a premier lobbying practice in this state," says Carroll Campbell, chairman of Carroll Campbell and Associates.

Munn followed with a statement of his own: "I could not be more delighted to have a core group of accomplished lobbyists in our firm. The skills and reputations of our partners add to our already substantial lobbying capabilities."

Wow. Fancy that. A bead of sweat.

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