South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel, a former real estate developer who became a rising political star after his election last year, was indicted Tuesday on federal cocaine charges.Interesting all around. In one sense, it seems odd that an elected official couldn't make such a thing go away, if you know what I mean. On the other hand, if the police knew about this before he was elected, even if they didn't have enough evidence to bring charges, it would seem that such information would have come out during the campaign.
Ravenel is also the state chairman for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign.
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The millionaire is accused of buying less than 500 grams of the drug to share with other people in late 2005, U.S. Attorney Reggie Lloyd said.
Ravenel, 44, is charged with distribution of cocaine, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The investigation into Ravenel arose from a drug case last year in Charleston, Lloyd said.
State Law Enforcement Division Chief Robert Stewart said his agents were aware of the allegations before Ravenel was elected in November, but they didn't have enough information to pursue criminal charges. The case was turned over to the FBI in April.
I wonder if this news will have any ill-effects on Giuliani's campaign. It would seem that it could be used as yet another example of his poor judgment in picking associates. It certainly doesn't bode well for his ability to choose appropriate political appointees.