S.C. Legislator Says Business Group Tried to Bribe Her

April 24, 2003

South Carolina State Rep. Shirley Hinson claims a business lobby group has offered her a bribe to support legislation that would reform medical malpractice lawsuits.

According to the Associated Press and The Charleston Post and Courier, the Republican from Goose Creek stated that South Carolina First, a group of state businesses organizations affiliated with the state Chamber of Commerce, mailed postcards to her constituents that distorted her view of tort reform legislation. Then the group allegedly offered to mail out a retraction, help her raise money and run ads in local newspapers if she supported the legislation they backed.

The bill in question caps the amount of money a court can award plaintiffs in business-related lawsuits at $250,000. Hinson said she’s behind tort reform but thinks the proposed cap is too low.

South Carolina First executive director Cam Crawford denied Hinson’s bribery accusations and said her remarks were “unfortunate.”

The postcard reportedly linked Hinson to former President Clinton. It featured a photo of Clinton, along with one of President Bush, and contained a question mark asking who Hinson supports.

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