Silly, Silly SC House “Republicans”

“TRICKS ARE FOR KIDS …”  The “Republican-controlled” S.C. House of Representatives included a nice $12,000 a year pay raise for its members in the FY 2014-15 budget – only to watch in disbelief as the more fiscally liberal State Senate rejected the increase. Oops … right?  You better believe it…


The “Republican-controlled” S.C. House of Representatives included a nice $12,000 a year pay raise for its members in the FY 2014-15 budget – only to watch in disbelief as the more fiscally liberal State Senate rejected the increase.

Oops … right?  You better believe it …

What happened?

Glad you asked: The pay hike for lawmakers – which would have totaled $2 million – was one of a handful of items in the state’s $25.1 billion budget singled out as excessive by S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, who used her veto pen to reject less than one tenth of one percent  of the largest state spending plan ever .

That’s a pitiful showing for any governor … but it’s especially weak for one who captured the GOP nomination four years ago as a Tea Partier (and who won the general election in 2010 as a “conservative”).

Even more pitiful?  The lengths top “Republicans” – including majority leader Bruce Bannister – went to in an effort to make sure Haley’s veto of the raises was ultimately overridden.

Here’s how the process works:  If a governor vetoes an item of spending in the state budget, both the S.C. House of Representatives and State Senate must come up with two-thirds majorities to override that veto – or else the item gets cut.  Getting those big majorities is not always easy to do, especially if a popular chief executive is willing to use the power of the bully pulpit to call out those lawmakers who go against their efforts to cut government.

Which Haley has clearly not  done …

The veto is an effective instrument, though, which is why it’s so depressing Haley has failed so abjectly in using it to cut state spending.

Anyway …

On the House’s first effort to override Haley’s veto (and restore the $2 million in funding for legislative pay raises), “Republicans” came up one vote short of the two-thirds majority they needed to keep the raises in the budget.

Here’s that tally …

(Click to enlarge)

first vote

Just to be clear, a “yes” vote supported the inclusion of the legislative pay hikes in the budget – a “no” vote took them out.

Just twenty minutes after Haley’s veto was sustained, though, a second vote was taken … and guess what? The number of “yes” votes remained the same, but the number of “no” votes mysteriously changed.

Here’s that  tally …

(Click to enlarge)

second vote

Notice the difference?

On the second vote, ten “Republicans” – Rita Allison, Shannon Erickson, Raye Felder, Craig Gagnon, Phyllis Henderson, Peter McCoy, Shannon Riley, Samuel Rivers, Anne Thayer and Donna Wood – all switched their votes from “No” to “Not Voting.”

As a result, the legislative pay raise – shot down less than half-an-hour earlier – was restored to the budget (with several votes to spare).

Incredible, huh?

Allison, Erickson, Felder, Thayer and Wood all entered statements in the official journal of the S.C. House of Representatives attempting to explain their absences – posting eerily similar comments referring to being “temporarily out of the Chamber on constituent business” or “unavoidably out of the Chamber” or “on excused leave” at the time the second vote was taken.

Hogwash …

Each one of these lawmakers “took a walk,” as it’s known, deliberately ditching their duties in an effort to pass this pay raise … and each one of them ought to be ashamed of themselves for doing so.

Same goes for “majority leader” Bannister and other ranking “Republican” leaders who pushed these lawmakers to play hooky so they could sneak this pay raise through the back door.

There was just one problem with their fool-proof plan, though … an unexpected override from the fiscally liberal State Senate.

There, only two “Republicans” – Hugh Leatherman and Ray Cleary – supported the pay hike.

“We got punked,” one GOP House member told FITS.

Indeed …

We’re sure these ten “Republicans” will have all sorts of explanations for their absences on the second pay hike vote … but don’t be fooled.  Each one of them punked out on their duty to stand and be counted for the taxpayers … which actually makes them worse than the dozens of “Republicans” who voted on the record in support of giving themselves pay raises.

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euwe max June 22, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Is that… chicken fat?

junior justice June 22, 2014 at 11:21 pm

— the games people play?

euwe max June 23, 2014 at 6:56 am

Sweaty palms… the fat pigs!

junior justice June 23, 2014 at 7:15 am

… or pee stains ? Was that smuggled out in someone’s undies?

Bible Thumper June 23, 2014 at 12:00 am

Only two Democrats voted against the pay raise. The Republicans understand that the real money is in converting campaign funds to personal use. In the unlikely event that you get caught, they just return the money like Harrell does.

The other lucrative income comes from representing clients before boards, commissions and judges that they elect.

The final way to supplement income is to pass or block legislation that benefits them, their family or campaign contributor in an insider fashion.

They don’t need a raise. They have plenty of creative sources of income.

Mike at the Beach June 23, 2014 at 12:45 am

Some of them may be working class or middle-income when they arrive, but we don’t see too many poor ones retiring a few terms later, do we?

euwe max June 23, 2014 at 6:39 am

It’s a good thing libertarians are selfless and altruistic – otherwise the “market forces” wouldn’t be so powerful.

Uh huh June 23, 2014 at 11:55 am

You miss the point that a free market keep self interest in check, I have no idea where you get the notion that libertarians are some paragons of selfless virtue(or claim to be), in fact it’s the very opposite…the only difference being libertarians admit that generally unlike most of the people that look up to gov’t/pols and think they are “selfless”…which is ridiculous.

euwe max June 23, 2014 at 12:40 pm

You miss the point that a free market keep self interest in check

Unless it doesn’t.

Uh huh June 23, 2014 at 1:27 pm

I understand that you think that a “free market” that works is non-sense, I think “magic” is the term you use. But, it’s pretty well documented and not as controversial as you might suggest….we just don’t see the actual free market in much anymore(if at all if you count money printing as central planning)…so no one really knows what the fuck it looks like.

So from that perspective, a tribe of Amazons never exposed to technology sure thinks a jumbo jet flying above them is fucking “magical”, understandably.

euwe max June 23, 2014 at 2:22 pm

it’s pretty well documented

I’m sure they’re on the verge of discovering the Free Market boson… the “dog particle.”

It’s just a matter of time before we discover the elemental forces in matter that contribute to efficient markets… I suspect the “weak force” is connected to the ground plane and multiplied by duplicity and greed.

Santa, are you listening? They’re comparing your marvelous sleigh with crude physical flying machines.

Uh huh June 23, 2014 at 4:55 pm

“Through a glass darkly, it looks like worthless derivatives given AAA ratings, sold to customers at a premium out the front door and shorted out the back like hot potatoes. But in the quickening we’ll see its face without the veil…. whale?”

And the guilty party is? The TBTF’s, all supported by the discount window and saved by taxpayer dollars….

Who’s responsible for giving them the keys to both? The government.

Who’s responsible for creating a tax/investing environment where Joe Sixpack mindlessly dumps a % of pretax money(trying to avoid getting stomped) into the TBTF casino? The government.

Who sanctioned the one agency with the balls to buck the TBTF’s and downrate their garbage? The government.

The government….the government…..the government.

euwe max June 23, 2014 at 5:15 pm

What an innocent.

euwe max June 23, 2014 at 12:41 pm

libertarians are some paragons of selfless virtue(or claim to be), in fact it’s the very opposite


Let them eat cake June 23, 2014 at 1:24 am

It’s good to be king(s).

GrandTango June 23, 2014 at 5:46 am

But Republicans Rejected Obama’s $11 Trillion Medicaid expansion, that we could NOT afford, and you Hate them, for that too.
PS: Which party is the majority in the Senate?…Dumb@$$…
Can’t have it both ways: Unless you’re an immature, and irresponsible Liberal-Tarian, when you’re not playing Liberal.

Jurisdoc June 23, 2014 at 6:09 am

You do realize this is the state legislature, where republicans control the house, senate, governors mansion, and pretty much everything else, right? Oh, never mind, I see how this works…….Obamacare! Benghazi!

GrandTango June 23, 2014 at 6:55 am

Who (which party) vetoed, and stopped the pay raise: DUMB@$$?????

GT enjoys Kool-Aid June 23, 2014 at 7:49 am

they are not as brave as you might like to believe, lay off the Kool-Aid and buy a clue.

From The Nerve –

“But when Sen. Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington, who was the acting Senate president at the time, initially called for the vote just before 10 p.m., there were 22 “yes” votes for the pay raise to 18 “no” votes, with two senators not voting, The Nerve’s tally showed.

Apparently sensing, however, that they ultimately weren’t going to meet the two-thirds threshold when the voting was formally closed, some senators, including Setzler, quickly switched their votes from “yes” to “no,” with the two senators who didn’t vote initially voting “no” as well in the end.

Besides Setzler, 11 other senators switched their votes from “yes” to “no”: Thomas Alexander, R-Oconee; Karl Allen, D-Greenville; Paul Campbell, R-Berkeley; Creighton Coleman, D-Fairfield; Tom Corbin, R-Greenville; Mike Fair, R-Greenville; Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley; Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg; Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington; Billy O’Dell, R-Abbeville; and Danny Verdin, R-Laurens.”

GrandTango June 23, 2014 at 7:51 am

So Haley’s Veto was successful, you IGNORANT F*#k….

Sandi Morals June 23, 2014 at 8:37 am

You are the only one that figured it out.

GrandTango June 23, 2014 at 6:57 am

This is passé: Much better: reading:
Strippers, pay-offs, indictments, could democrat Mayor Steve Benjamin be in trouble, electoral or criminal?

Smirks June 23, 2014 at 8:41 am

Hey, Willie, doesn’t GrandTango’s constant linking every day to what is quite obviously his own blog constitute spam?

Who Cares? June 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Boy, those comments are off the chain on that blog of yours…

You're a pig June 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Do you feel even slightly dirty advertising your site here?

whatever June 23, 2014 at 7:46 am

Aiken Rep Bill Taylor (Republican) also voted “No” the first time but switched to “yes” on the 2nd vote.

aikencounty June 23, 2014 at 12:47 pm

But he gotta have the “fair tax”!

G.O.B. June 23, 2014 at 8:01 am

Ah yes. Taking a walk. Usually performed when the legislature in question is a coward or has been bought and paid for!

Jamie Crater June 23, 2014 at 8:27 am

One big Fraternity.

bogart June 23, 2014 at 8:38 am

” Silly,silly SC House “REPUBLICANS”……..That works for me,didn’t need to read the article.

HD June 23, 2014 at 8:54 am

In case anyone is interested in comparing SC to other states. (NB – some states are “full time” legislatures. Also, the inclusion of “in-district expenses”, or their equivalent, doesn’t seem to be complete.).

I wouldn’t object to a salary increase. I’m not sure why they chose to raise in-district expenses instead.

tomstickler June 23, 2014 at 9:34 am

Salary is reportible as income on tax returns, expenses (per diem, etc.) are not.

HD June 23, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Wrong. In-District expense money is treated as regular income for tax purposes.

Manray June 23, 2014 at 9:43 am

Is anybody really surprised? These antics are part and parcel of “business as usual” in SC state government. Will the ignorant and credulous voters hold them responsible? Not a chance.

RINO Buster June 23, 2014 at 9:45 am

I’m very disappointed in my Rep. Shannon Riley. I do believe the evil empire has gotten to him.

euwe max June 23, 2014 at 9:49 am

What do you expect? A pragmatist who won’t take the money? Or a kook who thinks the aliens from another dimension will pay his mortgage?

You have to be suspicious about someone who would take the salary, and do their job while everyone else is partying… and no one would ever notice you working by yourself… not to mention the target growing on your back.

I’m just sayin’

Sharon June 23, 2014 at 9:51 am

Gave the state employees 2% percent raise just to take it away via Haley and the PEBA Board. Time to clean house in the next elections.

utah June 23, 2014 at 10:08 am

What about the senators who initially voted “yes,” but changed to “no” when they realized the veto wasn’t going to be overriden? They’re in the same boat as those jokers in the house.

Squishy123 June 23, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Do legislators like John Courson and other locals take a per diem for housing during session? If I am correct, doesn’t Courson live less than three miles from the State House? Does he really need that $4000/month for housing and meals?

My Two Cents June 23, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Congress and the US Senate is no different. I mean, look at how much all of them make? Over $3000.00 (+) a week, not to mention aaaalllllllll the benefits and perks they get. And they certainly are NOT worth it. $174,000.00 a year for lip, lip, lip, talk, talk, and more talk? And as to these good old boys in the SC House of Representatives? Pffftttt!!! Its all nothing but a country club setting … lots and lots of narcissist who need attention. And what better place to get their supply of it. Now, I am not against a raise. But $12,000 more a year is excessive, to say the least (especially with all the perks that get … the kickbacks … the stuffed envelopes with cash … the campaign donations they use for personal things … … Nawwwww … cut that raise, kick Leatherman and Harrell to the curb while we are at it. Harrell is going to prison … Leatherman might be not too far behind him *winks*

Mark Petereit June 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm

According to, the current annual salary of members of the House of Representatives is $10,400 a year during legislative sessions. Did they just vote themselves a 115% raise?

Or am I missing something?

Vbolenko June 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm

If your rep is NV most of the time, like the ones in our county, vote them out. Problems is .. so few know .. and that’s the power of ignorance that these elected folks have.

Politico June 27, 2014 at 12:29 pm

To be honest, how will we get people more representative of the state of South Carolina to run for office unless the pay is worth their while? Our state legislature receives one of the smallest salaries in the nation. If we want to get people into office who are truly “average” South Carolinians that do not have bundles of money then we must provide them with just compensation. From January to June these men and women give up their day jobs to act on behalf of the citizens of SC. They face criticism from all angles yet they still frequently work into the late evening hours in attempt to pass various legislation. Believe it or not, they would probably be making much more money if they were to stay at home and run their own businesses instead of coming to Columbia during session. If we want to recruit a small business owner, teacher, or “Joe the Plumber”, who make ends meet by working day in and day out, we must give them enough money so that it’s financially feasible to serve in the Senate or House. I believe their last pay raise was over 10 years ago because they have voted to raise their staff’s pay instead of their own during these times of financial crisis. Point the finger, be mad at whatever politicians piss you off, but if you want the system to change then I believe a pay raise is necessary.


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