WHEREAS, a twelve count indictment was filed against Charles Ray Sharpe on July 28, 2004, in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, Columbia Division stating charges of extortion, money laundering, and making false representations in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1951, 18 U.S.C. 1956(a)(1), and 18 U.S.C. 1001, respectively; and
WHEREAS, Attorney General Opinion 3-22-84, opined that extortion under 18 U.S.C. 1951 is a crime of moral turpitude; and the South Carolina Supreme Court in In the Matter of Brenda Joyce Hamer, 342 S.C. 437, 537 S.E.2d 552 (2000) held that money laundering is a crime of moral turpitude; and Attorney General Opinion 4-3-79 opined that making false representations under 18 U.S.C. 1001 is a crime of moral turpitude; and
WHEREAS, a certified true copy of the indictment against Charles Ray Sharpe has been provided to me; and
WHEREAS, Charles Ray Sharpe is the Commissioner of Agriculture for the State of South Carolina; and
WHEREAS, Article VI, Section 8 of the South Carolina Constitution provides, in pertinent part, that "[a]ny officer of the State or its political subdivisions . . ., who has been indicted by a grand jury for a crime involving moral turpitude or who has waived such indictment if permitted by law may be suspended by the Governor until he shall have been acquitted."
NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of South Carolina, I hereby suspend Charles Ray Sharpe from the office of the Commissioner of Agriculture. This suspension shall remain in effect until such time as he shall be formally acquitted or convicted.
This action in no manner addresses the question of the guilt or innocence of Mr. Sharpe and should not be construed as an expression of any opinion one way or another on such question.
This order shall take effect immediately.
GIVEN UNDER MY HAND AND THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, THIS 29th DAY OF JULY, 2004.
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 11:15 A.M.