The S.C. House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to ban taxpayer-funded lobbying in the governor’s office – putting S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley in the awkward position of having to lobby the legislature to overturn the amendment.
First, here’s the text of the amendment (sponsored by S.C. Rep. Boyd Brown) that passed the House:
SECTION 1B, Amendment 95
Rep. H.B. Brown proposes the following Amendment No. 95 to H.4813 as introduced by Ways & Means
Explanation: Prohibits the use of state funds to pay employees to lobby the General Assembly.
Amend the Bill, as and if amended, Part 1B, Section 72, Office of the Governor, Page 451, after line 18, by adding an appropriately numbered paragraph to read:
/(GOV: Lobbying Prohibition) The Governor’s Office is prohibited from using General Fund appropriations to compensate employees who engage in lobbying activities on behalf of the Governor’s Office. /
Haley has a deputy chief of staff (who makes $102,000 a year, not counting benefits) and a legislative liaison (who makes $65,000 a year, not counting benefits) on her executive staff. Both of these employees are tasked exclusively with advancing Haley’s agenda – such as it is – before the S.C. General Assembly.
Brown’s amendment drew support from Haley’s former allies at the S.C. Policy Council – albeit with a caveat.
“Why just the governor’s office?” the think tank noted on its Facebook page. “Why not all agencies?”
We agree … this website has long opposed using taxpayer funds to lobby the S.C. General Assembly, whether by the governor’s office or any other state agency.
And to his credit, so has Brown.
Two years ago, Brown sponsored an amendment that would have banned taxpayer-funded lobbying by several educrat lobbying groups – an amendment that failed by a single vote in the S.C. House.
Among the so-called “Republicans” who voted to continue using tax dollars to fund these bureaucratic lobbying efforts were Reps. Liston Barfield, Alan Clemmons, Mike Gambrell, Nelson Hardwick, Bill Herbkersman, Davey Hiott, Chip Huggins, Lanny Littlejohn, Steve Parker, Jay Lucas, Gene Pinson, Bill Sandifer, B.R. Skelton, Don Smith and Bill Whitmire.
Tax dollars should never be used to lobby government at any level. All such expenditures do is fuel the growth of government – something we thought a “Tea Party” governor would recognize.