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SPEAKER’S CHALLENGER WANTS TO ELIMINATE LEGISLATIVE “SELF-POLICING”

Not long ago we reported on the candidacy of Mary Tinkler, a Democrat running for S.C. House District 114. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s the district currently represented by embattled S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell.

See where we’re going with this?

Tinkler recently launched her official campaign website, and not surprisingly it is heavy on the issue of ethics reform.

“Unless people are confident that their elected officials are free from conflicts of interest and undue influence of special interest money, democracy in government does not work,” Tinkler says. “Every passing week we hear of politicians ‘indicted for this’ or ‘under investigation’ for that. For those serving us in government, ethics should be a high priority.”

MARY TINKLER
MARY TINKLER

She’s right … but it isn’t. And there isn’t anyone in South Carolina politics with a worse ethical record than Bobby Harrell (except possibly Gov. Nikki Haley).

To her credit, Tinkler didn’t just rattle off a talking point – she specifically articulated her support for several specific ethics reform proposals, including income disclosure for lawmakers, expanded reporting for campaign expenditures and (most importantly) the elimination of the corrupt legislative “cover-up committees” habitually used by lawmakers to “police” themselves.

“Our SC ethics committees are blatantly partisan,” Tinkler says. “This is a roadblock to achieving fair and balanced outcomes for ethics issues. We must abolish the House and Senate ethics committees and give the SC Ethics Commission the authority and investigative power it needs to hold our legislators accountable.”

We agree …

In fact here’s Exhibit A in support of Tinkler’s allegations of partisanship.

Exhibit B? The ongoing effort by Harrell’s allies in the judicial and legislative branches to effectively neuter S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson – and shut down his office’s investigation of Harrell’s alleged public corruption.

We don’t know if Tinkler has a chance in hell of upsetting the wealthy, connected Speaker … but what a wonderful opportunity her candidacy presents to dole out the sort of justice Harrell so richly deserves.

Some would argue Tinkler doesn’t deserve support because she’s a “Democrat.” Really? Perhaps they’ve forgotten that in addition to being one of the most corrupt leaders in the state, Harrell is also one of the most fiscally liberal.

We plan on endorsing at least a handful of Democrats in the November elections – arguing that when there is little ideological difference between the major party candidates, it’s better to purge fiscally liberal “Republicans” and hope for better GOP candidates in future election cycles.

We can’t think of a better place to start that process than Tinkler’s bid to upset Harrell …