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Vincent Sheheen Proposes Ethics Reforms

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S.C. Sen. Vincent Sheheen submitted a letter this week to liberal “Republican” Luke Rankin – chairman of the S.C. Senate’s ethics committee – outlining his views on ethics reform.

In the letter, Sheheen lays out a number of policy positions he believes would “address ongoing violations.”

Not surprisingly, most of Sheheen’s policies address violations committed in the past by S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley – his

Specifically, Sheheen wants to ban “any elected official from using the state plane to carry political staff” or be used “for political purposes.” He also wants the same ban extended to “state-owned cars or other state-owned vehicles.”

Obviously Haley has a vastly different view on the subject …

Sheheen also proposes a ban on the use of the Governor’s Mansion or its grounds – or the S.C. State House – for “political fundraising activity.”

Interesting … although the last time we checked it was already illegal for elected officials to use government resources for campaign purposes. The problem? No one is following the laws that are already on the books (as S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis has frequently pointed out).

Sheheen also wants a five-year moratorium on elected officials becoming lobbyists (the current law calls for a one-year ban) – and “full transparency” on income disclosure, another area in which Haley has stumbled.

Finally, Sheheen has proposed the elimination of the current “independent” S.C. Ethics Commission and the “irregular enforcement” of the state’s two legislative ethics committees.

“We need a new, independent committee with fresh eyes to ensure our leaders are living up to the standard the people of South Carolina deserve,” he wrote.

Obviously Haley has been the beneficiary of questionable rulings from both the executive and legislative “ethics” panels, the former of which she is responsible for filling (a job she has failed to do).

Would she have been judged differently by a non-political panel? We think so …

Sheheen’s reforms are a good start – and are clearly much stronger than the watered-down legislation Haley has embraced. Still, until we start actually enforcing laws (i.e. throwing politicians in jail for their corruption), “ethics reform” will remain nothing but a bunch of talk in South Carolina.

SHEHEEN LETTER (.pdf)