S.C. Sen. Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg) did not follow the lead of his fellow candidates in disclosing his personal income information this week.
Bright – who is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by liberal “Republican” Lindsey Graham – asked for (and received) an extension for submitting his required paperwork. Graham filed his economic interest forms – as did Lowcountry businesswoman Nancy Mace and Upstate social conservative Richard Cash, both of whom are challenging Graham in the 2014 Republican primary election for this seat.
What prompted Bright’s delay? Well, last time we checked his business wasn’t going so well. Maybe he didn’t want to deal with the embarrassment?
Why does this issue matter? Well for those of you who have already forgotten, hundreds of candidates were booted from the ballot in South Carolina last year for failing to file their economic interest forms in a timely manner (a story which broke exclusively on FITS).
Other candidates – including S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley – have been substantially less than honest in disclosing their income.
As a result, disclosure of economic interests has become a major political issue – with lawmakers like S.C. Rep. Kirkman Finlay pushing aggressive reforms aimed at broadening disclosure requirements and stiffening penalties for violators.
We’ve said on numerous previous occasions that we don’t hold Bright’s business failings against him.
“Whatever Bright’s personal business issues are – and it appears pretty obvious at this point that he has some serious ones – businesses go under and declare bankruptcy every day (more often than ever these days),” we wrote last year.
Times are tough. We get that.
But Bright’s failure to disclose raises a serious red flag … one he needs to address sooner rather than later.