When Rev. Joe Neal died unexpectedly on Feb. 14, his family asked that any donations in his memory be made to the SC Progressive Network, which he co-founded and led for 21 years.
Congressman Jeff Duncan‘s office sent a $25 check, as the two had served together in the SC House. But when Duncan became aware that the donation was going to the Progressive Network, he stopped payment. Adding insult to injury, the Network was charged $20 in bank fees.
Network Director Brett Bursey called Duncan’s office to clarify whether the congressman was indeed that petty. For the record, he is.
When Joe’s sister, Wilma Neal Garren, was told about the incident, she said, “Anybody who touched Joe’s life knew that, as a founder of the South Carolina Progressive Network, that the organization was near and dear to his heart. To step forward to honor Joe and then take the donation to Joe’s favorite charity back is the height of hypocrisy, and shows that he didn’t know Joe.”
The check came from Duncan’s 2016 campaign account, which spent $715,207 to beat Democratic opponent Hosea Cleveland, who spent $9,166. Duncan’s campaign ended with a balance of $65,285. Duncan is a member of the Freedom Caucus, a collection of the most conservative lawmakers in DC, and was most recently in the news defending his bill to make it easier to buy gun silencers.