Let’s traipse back in time a minute. Before he headed off to prison, a 2008 story in The Post and Courier read, “Ravenel wants to get back into politics again some day. ‘I didn’t steal any money, there was no public corruption,” he said. ‘I just hurt myself.’”
Poor T-Rav’! I guess he didn’t take the time to notice a law I ushered through the General Assembly barring convicted felons from running for public office again (or at least for 15 years after I agreed to that compromise to my absolute bar!).
The passion driving this piece of Legislation sprang from my being elected on the heels of Operation Lost Trust. When I initially introduced what would be known as the “Bubba’s Ban”, former lawmakers, fresh out of jail, were eying their old jobs. Predictably, I got my Fresh buns sliced (and toasted) the first few times I pushed for this reform. I doggedly pursued it for the next SIX (6) years because it just seemed like a good idea.
It’s really simple: A felony is a felony for a reason, and those seeking public office, (including US CONGRESS, T-Rav) or wanting to tote handguns, teach children, manage daycare centers, and a wealth of other PRIVILEGES should understand that.
In the words of one of my favorite former Statesmen Senator Kay Patterson, “to boil it down to a low gravy”, when living with others in civilized nations, one MUST follow the rules or accept the consequences.
Cindi Ross Scoppe, writing for The State, quoted me in an April 16, 1996 story, “The primary responsibility in the job description for a Senator or a House Representative is to make laws, so the underlying prerequisite to that job is to abide by them. And to be a convicted felon, you flunked the first prerequisite to hold the seat, and you don’t belong there.”
The next day, the paper endorsed my bill and constitutional amendment legislation, saying, “If a majority approves the amendment in November, voters could no longer send their favorite felon right back to the State House. But more important, the change would send a message to those who commit major crimes or violate election laws: There are no quick round trips between the State House and the hoosegow.”
From a strictly purist legal standpoint, The Preemption Doctrine provides that State Law has to take a constitutional back seat to Federal Law. Nevertheless, South Carolina Law is clear and to the point: If you are a Felon, you ain’t running for office for 15 years. Deal with it! The Legislature passed it– the PEOPLE VOTED FOR THE CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE!
Getting back to T-Rav’, perhaps no one acquainted this guy with the concept of CONSEQUENCES prior to his felony conviction for cocaine possession with intent to distribute. Gee, the rest of us all knew that it was illegal and if caught and convicted, we would go to prison…(most of us for a long, long time) And most likely, NOT serve out our time in a “Club Fed”!
Mr. Ravenel is a prime example of the generation of the “entitled”, and the story about his renouncing his citizenship to the very Country whose freedoms and principles had enabled his family to prosper both financially and politically just drove that point home…And now, Thomas Ravenel wants to run for CONGRESS?!? Heavens to Betsy!
After I finally passed the “Bubba’s Ban” Bill, a lot of former legislators-jailbirds weren’t happy (with the Bill & Bubba). But, you have to take responsibility for your actions, either by choice or by law. Ravenel is showing again that while forced to abide by the latter, he won’t act in accordance with the former.
J.L. Mann Cromer, Jr. Served as the only True Independent Member of the South Carolina General Assembly from 1990- 1998. Currently, he is a General Practice Attorney in Columbia, South Carolina, concentrating in Probate & Estate Planning, Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Law.