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South Carolina’s “Republican-controlled” General Assembly rejected an effort to give voters the right to recall statewide elected officials on Tuesday – taking some shine off of their incessant “pro-accountability” rhetoric.

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley offered her support for the amendment last week – although she insisted (correctly, we might add) that lawmakers first amend the legislation so as to make it apply to House members and State Senators as well.

That’s an about-face for Haley, who previously opposed efforts that would have given voters the right to recall their leaders.

Democrats introduced the recall measure as an amendment to the General Assembly’s sine die resolution, a procedural bill that governs which issues lawmakers are permitted to take up during their special legislative session. The amendment – and the recall legislation – is sponsored by S.C. Rep. Boyd Brown (D-Winnsboro). Brown introduced a similar bill in the heat of former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford’s battle with the General Assembly over the acceptance of federal “stimulus” funds.

The vote to consider the measure which has taken on added significance in light of the ethical scandal swirling around S.C. Lt. Gov. Ken Ard (RINO-Pamplico) – failed along partisan lines.

“It’s clear that voters in South Carolina and around the country want more ways to hold elected officials accountable,” Brown told FITS. “It’s a shame Republicans would rather cover up the scandals of crooked politicians like Ken Ard.”

In fact one of Ard’s fellow Pee Dee lawmakers – S.C. Rep. Phillip Lowe (RINO-Florence) – made the motion to block the amendment.

“That’s just another example of the good ole boys sticking up for each other,” Brown said.

Brown’s bill – which must now wait until January to be considered – doesn’t currently apply to S.C. House and Senate members, but he said he supports making such a change.

“I welcome any amendment that includes the House and the Senate, as well as local elected officials,” Brown told FITS.

In fact, Brown said he would support an amendment permitting voters to recall public officials ranging from “the dogcatcher on up.”

We support Brown’s efforts – and we agree with Haley’s caveat to his proposed legislation. Unfortunately “Republicans” in the S.C. House – who literally can’t complete a sentence without bragging about “accountability” – balked on this opportunity to actually provide it.

“It’s understandable that the Republicans want to protect one of their own, but they should put aside this purely partisan political cronyism and let the people speak,” S.C. Democratic party chairman Dick Harpootlian said.

ROLL CALL VOTE TO REJECT RECALL AMENDMENT (.pdf)

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