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SC Ethics Reform Bill Slammed



S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley scored a minor political victory when the “ethics reform” legislation she’s championing (with a jaw-dropping abundance of hypocrisy) scored a coveted “special order” slot on the calendar of the S.C. Senate.

What does that mean? It’s simple: Unlike legislation that lawmakers say they care about (but really don’t), “Haley’s” ethics bill will get an up-or-down vote in the State Senate before the legislative session concludes later this spring.

Is the ethics bill the Senate is taking up any good?

Hell no …

As we noted on the occasion of its passage from the S.C. House of Representatives, the legislation failed on the most critical front – abolishing the corrupt legislative “cover-up committees” that give lawmakers the exclusive right to police themselves (and their former colleagues).

As long as our corrupt legislative branch is in charge of rooting out corruption in its own House (and Senate), then there should be no expectation that the S.C. General Assembly will ever be anything other than corrupt (with whitewashes like this being the norm).

This – and other flaws in the bill – are being pointed out by critics on both sides of the aisle.

The legislation “is nothing more than political grandstanding, and it will be struck down when taken to court plus it will cost our state untold millions in attorney’s fees,” says GOP consultant David Carter.

S.C. Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden), Haley’s likely 2014 gubernatorial opponent, agrees.

“We need real ethics reform, now,” Sheheen said this week, referring to the push to pass a watered-down proposal as “naked self-interest” on Haley’s part.

We agree …

At this point, our intellectually incurious, thumb-twiddling lawmakers should take the only redeeming component of this bill – an income disclosure amendment drafted by S.C. Rep. Kirman Finlay – and pass that as a standalone measure.

Beyond that, they need to reexamine the host of tough measures offered up by lawmakers of both parties in recent years and pass reform that actually means something. Otherwise South Carolina will remain one of the most corruptsecretive states in the nation.