LAWMAKERS EXPAND COMMITTEE THEY OUGHT TO BE ELIMINATING
Leave it to South Carolina state government to take an entity that desperately needs to be eliminated … and expand it. Yup … that’s exactly what members of the “Republican-controlled” S.C. General Assembly did this week, adding several new foxes to guard their legislative hen house.
The notoriously corrupt S.C. House Ethics Committee – which is known for its rigged hearings and hall passes – grew by four members this week, all of them Democrats. As a result the six-person panel is now a ten-person panel, although in this banana republic of bipartisanshit rest assured: Unethical behavior (like profligate spending) knows no party label.
Lawmakers are still exclusively in charge of policing their own behavior, which means that this “reform” – like everything else this commission does – is all about keeping up appearances.
How shady is this committee?
Well, despite clear and compelling evidence that Gov. Nikki Haley violated multiple ethics laws during her tenure in the House, the committee nonetheless voted earlier this year to dismiss all of the charges against her. This decision was based exclusively on testimony from the governor and sympathetic witnesses – and was reached without a public examination of the evidence (including evidence sought by the committee).
Haley’s accuser John Rainey, a prominent GOP fundraiser, was never allowed to present his case. Instead he was sequestered in a private room – unable even to listen as the governor called him a racist for daring to raise questions about her transparent lawlessness.
It was a show trial, people. Which isn’t surprising when you consider that Haley threatened members of the committee – and their “Republican” leaders – with political retribution if they went against her.
Of course Haley isn’t the only corrupt public official whose sins this committee has whitewashed. S.C. Rep. Brian White (RINO-Anderson), chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means committee, was busted last year using his campaign account for personal expenditures – yet he’s still getting a pass on it.
Next up in the whitewash parade? S.C. Speaker Bobby Harrell – who was caught red-handed earlier this year padding his pockets with illegal campaign reimbursements. Think he’ll be held accountable? Please … in fact the addition of Democrats to this panel probably helps the fiscally liberal Speaker.
Last week we discussed the competition for seats on this committee – reinforcing the need for lawmakers to get rid of it (and its Senate equivalent) entirely.
“What matters in our book isn’t who gets placed on this ‘cover-up committee,’ it’s how lawmakers vote on a long overdue reform that would abolish this committee altogether, along with its equally corrupt counterpart in the State Senate,” we wrote.
Lawmakers must be held to the same ethical standards as other public officials – something that will never happen if we keep letting them pick more of their buddies to police themselves.