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FITSNews – June 23, 2008 – As we reported earlier today, former Democratic Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum is endorsing Republican candidates through her “Rise SC” organization – and evidently violating our campaign laws in the process.

We have now obtained one of these mailings – sent on behalf of S.C. Rep. Scott Talley in a contested GOP Senate runoff in Spartanburg, S.C. – which clearly qualifies as “express advocacy” under current campaign law.

FITSNews has also learned that ethics complaints are in the process of being filed against Tenenbaum’s organization as well as current State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex, whose improper campaign activities have similarly broken state law.

What is perhaps most interesting about Tenenbaum’s mailing on behalf of Rep. Talley, however, is not its origin or legality, but rather its content.  Specifically, the mailing attacks Talley’s opponent, Lee Bright, for supporting “risky (school) voucher schemes.”

This accusation apparently ignores the fact that just last year, Talley himself co-sponsored an amendment to a House Bill (H. 3124) that would have provided school vouchers to students in “unsatisfactory” public schools.

Wait, what? Talley endorsed “vouchers?” Yup, it’s true …

Specifically, language from Talley’s amendment said that the “Department of Education shall issue a check to the independent school” receiving the “educational opportunity scholarship” based on a percentage of South Carolina’s base student cost.

Last time we checked, that’s a “voucher.”

The amendment – which we here at FITSNews supported – was ultimately defeated via a series of procedural votes, but Talley is on the record not only sponsoring the “voucher” amendment, but also voting for it.

Anyway, just something to keep in mind as you take a closer look at Tenenbaum’s mail piece attacking Talley’s opponent for being a “voucher supporter.”