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Joe McCulloch’s “Say Anything” Hypocrisy




By FITSNEWS  ||  South Carolina’s state government is one of the most corrupt, least transparent in America … despite so-called “efforts” from the so-called “most transparent administration in state history.”

Anyway, while S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and “Republican” legislative leaders have failed miserably to achieve meaningful ethics reform over the last four years – corruption at the S.C. State House has gotten worse.  In fact a federal-state investigation is currently underway to determine whether members of the S.C. General Assembly sold or traded their votes – in addition to other shady self-serving behavior.

Naturally, Democrats have seized on this issue in the 2014 elections – telling their candidates for the legislature to attack their opponents on the ethics issue.

In some cases, that makes sense – most notably the reelection bid of ethically challenged, truth-averse S.C. Rep. Stephen Goldfinch in S.C. House District 108 (Georgetown County).

In other cases, though, the ethics attack is simply unfounded (although that’s not stopping the Democrats from running the playbook, anyway).

Take the race for S.C. House District 75 – in which uber-liberal trial lawyer Joe McCulloch is looking to lie his way to a win over the incumbent, S.C. Rep. Kirkman Finlay.

Already busted once spreading mistruths, McCulloch’s latest broadside – an attack mailing sent to voters last week – against Finlay alleges he sponsored ethics legislation in an effort to protect S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell, who was indicted last month on state corruption charges.

McCulloch’s ad received a swift rebuke from S.C. majority leader Bruce Bannister – who has previously called out the Democrat’s campaign for spreading falsehoods.

In a letter sent to the candidate, Bannister blasts McCulloch for “misinformation that seems to be prevalent in this campaign.”

“Each of (Finlay’s) bills was an attempt to achieve meaningful reform in our ethics code by removing ambiguity, politics and the opportunity for fraud,” Bannister wrote. ” The implication that any of these bills was drafted for the benefit or even to effect any particular case, investigation or individual is, quite frankly, false and unsupported.”

Indeed … we covered the rollout of Finlay’s bills back in January, referring to them collectively as “tightening up the laws that are most frequently abused.”

Beyond McCulloch’s misrepresentation of these bills is a bigger falsehood, though – namely the fact he’s attacking the one lawmaker who has done more to advance big ticket ethics reform in the Palmetto State than any other.

We’re referring, of course, to Finlay’s longtime support for income disclosure – as well as his leadership in pushing for an end to the General Assembly’s corrupt self-policing policy.  In fact we wrote a column two months ago discussing how ridiculous McCulloch’s line of attack was given Finlay’s advocacy on behalf of these two critical reforms – neither of which was embraced by Haley and her allies.

In fact Finlay caught grief within his own party for standing up for these bills …

“No one in Columbia has fought any harder than me to pass the two most critical ethics reforms out there: Full income disclosure and the elimination of lawmakers’ ability to police themselves,” Finlay said last week. “I’ve made a lot of enemies pushing those reforms but I’m fighting for them anyway. Until we know who’s paying who – and can hold people truly accountable for their behavior – we’ll never be able to trust the decisions coming out of the State House.”

Exactly …

To hear self-serving, hypocritical politicians like McCulloch tell it, South Carolina is corrupt because incumbents like Finlay are protecting the status quo.  That’s a narrative that’s easy to sell, too, because it’s usually true.  In McCulloch’s case, though, not only is his attack patently false – his opponent has a documented record of pushing for the Palmetto State’s most critically needed ethics reforms.

In fact had Nikki Haley and her allies in the House fought for Finlay’s reforms – and not against them – real progress could have been made on this issue in 2014.