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S.C. Democrats ask: Where did Alvin Greene get money to file for Senate primary?

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By Manuel Roig-Franzia
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 12, 2010

MANNING, S.C. -- Where'd he get the money?

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That's the question here. How did Alvin M. Greene, an unemployed military veteran who lives with his father, come up with the $10,400 filing fee for the Democratic Senate primary he won Tuesday?

As pressure mounts on Greene to answer speculation that he might have been a Republican plant -- an accusation he denies -- a small cadre of supporters is coalescing to defend the 32-year-old novice, who was victorious without benefit of campaign staff members, contributors or even speaking events. Prominent among them is Eleazer Carter, a Columbia, S.C., criminal defense lawyer, who said Friday that he has begun examining the campaign in preparation for any possible legal action against Greene.

Carter's involvement, like almost everything in Greene's saga, has an element of intrigue. Carter says he's working at the behest of "unofficial members of Greene's campaign" but won't identify them.

"These are people who are interested in this election," Carter said in an interview. "Persons from his county. They are people who know him."

South Carolina has a history of political plants being placed in elections to skew turnout. In 1992, Republican operative Rod Shealy was convicted of hiring an African-American fisherman to run for congressional office in hopes of stimulating white turnout to help his sister get elected lieutenant governor. The case of Greene, who is African American, has reminded many here of the Shealy incident, though political sleuths have not come up with any logical meddler or motive.

"Recruiting an African American in a primary is not a novel idea," said Dick Harpootlian, a former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman who was the prosecutor in the Shealy case. "We've seen it before."

Harpootlian and many others have noted that Greene was assigned a public defender after being charged with showing pornography to a University of South Carolina student in November in a case that is pending. (Earlier, Greene said he is not guilty.) He said that public defenders are generally assigned to represent defendants who are indigent and that it would be unusual for someone who had more than $10,000 in a bank account to be declared indigent.

"It raises the question, did somebody assist him in filing?" Harpootlian said. "Given all that, inquiring minds want to know."

In an interview Friday at his father's home outside Manning, Greene said he got the money from a personal bank account containing money he saved before being discharged from the Army last summer. He declined to show documentation of the account.

"I saved the money from the Army," Greene said. "Army, Army, Army, Army money. My personal Army money." Then, he had a question of his own: "Can I get paid for this interview?"


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