A former SCDOT Commissioner and the son-in-law of powerful state Senator Hugh Leatherman, Hardee was caught by the FBI on video accepting a cash bribe from a road contractor.
While the Feds offered him a plea deal for a lesser crime and let him off with a slap on the wrist, he still violated STATE felony laws for accepting bribes.
Also while on the SCDOT Commission, Hardee masterminded a "kick back scheme" that funneled taxpayer dollars - intended for Public Service Announcements - to politicians (including his father-in-law), lobbyists, and himself.
AG Wilson and SLED need to open a criminal investigation to answer the following questions:
- Did Hardee knowingly use his official office as SCDOT Commissioner and/or his connection to his powerful father-in-law (Leatherman) to extort state agencies by overcharging for the PSAs and funneling the difference to political candidates, lobbyists and himself?
- Did he violate Section 8-13-705 of the State Ethics Act, which says a public official cannot “directly or indirectly, knowingly ask, demand, exact, solicit, seek, accept, assign, receive, or agree to receive anything of value for himself or for another person in return for being,” among other things, “influenced in the discharge of his official duties”?
- Did he violate Section 57-1-40, which says a DOT commissioner or employee can’t accept money, a contract, employment or “other thing of value” with the intent to influence his “decision or action on any question, matter, cause, or proceeding which at the time may be pending or which by law may be brought before him in his official capacity.”
- Did Hardee attempt to use his office to influence governmental decisions in which he and/or his father-in-law has an economic interest?