How Ethics Complaints Get Handled In SC

“POLITICIAN PROTECTION” CULTURE NEEDS FIXING … || By FITSNEWS || A private citizen who questioned whether a pair of South Carolina Senators were misusing campaign funds was told not to discuss the allegations with anyone – and then threatened with legal action in the event he pursued the charges. Gotta…


|| By FITSNEWS || A private citizen who questioned whether a pair of South Carolina Senators were misusing campaign funds was told not to discuss the allegations with anyone – and then threatened with legal action in the event he pursued the charges.

Gotta love that “good ol’ boy” system, huh?

The citizen – whose name was redacted from the documents provided to FITS – questioned whether dozens of gasoline purchases made by liberal Senator John W. Matthews were legitimate uses of campaign funds.  A separate letter questioned whether liberal Senator Luke Rankin‘s subsidization of charitable organizations with campaign funds was permissible.

To be fair to Matthews and Rankin, state ethics law expressly provides for these sorts of expenses … although they have been routinely abused in the past (especially the charitable exemption).

But that’s not the point here …

The point is the committee sent this particular citizen a nasty-gram (two nasty-grams, in fact) informing them that the “disclosure of confidential information pertaining to an ethics compliant can result in prosecution by the Attorney General.”

“Therefore, please refrain from discussing this matter with anyone,” one of the letters stated.

Wow … we wonder if S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson, who has made a name for himself fighting corruption, knows that lawmakers are invoking his name in an effort to silence citizen complaints?

Hmmmm …

One of the letters also informed the shell-shocked citizen that “the Committee will not respond to any further correspondence from you alleging ethics violations that is not in the form of a sworn compliant.”  In other words, they intend to force the citizen to assume legal liability for the substance of the allegations – which strikes us as an effort to intimidate other citizens from filing similar complaints in the future.


This is not how the system should work … which is why we’ve been arguing for years that legislative self-policing must end.  If it doesn’t, lawmakers will simply continue protecting their own – and continue browbeating anyone who dares to suggest they may be behaving unethically.

In this case we don’t necessarily think Matthews or Rankin did anything wrong … but the State Senate’s effort to silence and intimidate the individual who questioned their campaign expenses (which appears to be boilerplate bullying) is extremely troubling.

Citizens who question their government officials should be thanked … not threatened.  And their complaints should be heard by an independent panel empowered to investigate and uncover the truth in public – not via the secretive scandal-erasing process lawmakers’ have habitually exploited in an effort to protect themselves from the consequences of their self-serving behavior.


Pic: Travis Bell Photography


UPDATE: Wow. Apparently this complaint filer got off easy by comparison.

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GrandTango February 18, 2015 at 11:01 am

“A private citizen”….That’s your source…and you’re B!*c#ing about Ethics???….
Irony anyone?…..LMAO…

We Are All Private Citizens February 18, 2015 at 11:30 am

This could happen to anyone, even a moron like you. Try to be a bit less Neanderthalish about this, if that is even possible.

GrandTango February 18, 2015 at 11:47 am

Pi$$#D much???…LMAO…

First they came... February 18, 2015 at 12:02 pm

First they came for GrandTango, and I asked if they needed a hand.

grandtangosuglydog February 18, 2015 at 1:23 pm

If Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and GrandasshatnamedEmily were drowning, and you only had time to rescue one of them, what kind of sandwich would you make?

Tasty Sandwich February 18, 2015 at 2:47 pm

I’d make a Cuban, not only is it tasty but the fact that it has Cuba in the name will enrage GrandTango for a bit of added entertainment.

Soft Sigh from Hell February 18, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Salt in the wound, so to speak.

The Patriot February 18, 2015 at 5:05 pm

A hogie to feed at least 1000+!!!
2000 if it were Haley or Obama!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you Statist February 18, 2015 at 12:42 pm

Would you have been happier if it was a gov’t official instead of a private citizen?

Buz Martin February 18, 2015 at 12:50 pm

GT pretends to be “conservative”, but is really an apologist for the status quo statist chrony corporatist neo-Trotskyite war pigs. Nothing remotely conservative about him.

Conservative Values February 18, 2015 at 9:12 pm

He believes in

“Conservative Values.”

GrandTango February 18, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Usually when one avoids using a name…it is an attempt to avoid accountability for what is being claimed.

FITS used an un-named source to claim a USC baseball player cheated on a test…

FITS told us USC would have to “VACATE” CWS game wins based on this source, who refused to give his/her name, while attempting to severely damage a young man’s reputation… and disparage Ray Tanner and the whole SC Athletic department, after the baseball team had accomplished a truly spectacular feat…

Low-life, self-loathing liberals hate to see success…unless it’s at the pain of someone else and on their absurd terms…

So they’ll make up any lie to attack those who achieve what they are too weak and deficient to obtain…

Try To Keep Up February 18, 2015 at 5:02 pm

“Low-life, self-loathing liberals”.
Hey, I just used that to describe you in my response to one of your other mindless posts (rants). Plagiarism much?

GrandTango February 18, 2015 at 5:52 pm

You Dumb-F*#ks have the perpetual problem of confusing accurate descriptions of you w/ name-calling..LMAO…

It’s what you are…why do you always run away from that? …OWN it…Hahahaha..

Halfvast Conspirator February 18, 2015 at 11:57 am

This is how it works with the Ethics Commission, once you file a complaint you can’t discuss it until the investigation is over and the report is issued.

USC Law School Class of 88 February 18, 2015 at 2:06 pm

TWIMC, you may or may not be aware, but the Senate Ethics Committee has no jurisdiction against private citizens and cannot threaten you with prosecution by the Attorney General. “

Rocky SC Elite February 18, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Please refrain from discussing this topic any further. No citizen in the State of South Carolina has a right to question anything an elected official does. All citizens are hereby warned to avoid insulting anyone in the ruling class, or their spouses or children, cousins, uncles, aunts, ex-wives, senond-cousins twice removed, and pets. Don’t you know we are the ruling class, and entitled to significant privilages because of our strong committment to Jesus Christ and our local communities, and can do, well, whatever we damned well please. Now move along and go back to your regularly scheduled lives and leave us be – we have important work to get done in Columbia.

Queen Jean February 19, 2015 at 7:27 am

I could not have said it better myself. I make all decisions on attorney discipline as it suits me professionally and personally. My dear friend Hugh should do the same in the Senate.

anonymous February 18, 2015 at 5:01 pm

you should spell “complaint” more consistently. you sometimes switch the i and a.

there’s a big difference between complaints and compliance.

nitrat February 18, 2015 at 5:47 pm

It really doesn’t matter who hears ethics complaints anymore… now that Trikki Has packed the SC Ethics Commission board with her toadies.
Thanks again, Mark Sanford, for leaving 600+ board positions unfilled when you left office.
Thanks to all the expired terms that she filled, she’s covered for the rest of her term.

Cola Kid February 18, 2015 at 9:42 pm

I just posted about corruption involving the US Attorney in Charleston who was caught lying to Federal Agents, SLED and to DOJ (documented), submit a complaint to DOJ. Even after the documents were sent to DOJ, & SLED no one would call her back or send any responses to the registered letter. When the info was sent to Mr Nettles attention, his assistant threatened the girl for sending the complaint and told her she need to watch self if shes going to go around sending statements like this out… If anyone out there knows where this group could file felony civil rights violations to a group that responds, Please post it on site. I’ll give you something to blog about.


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